Gov. Wolf: State has reached milestone in plan to vaccinate seniors in long-term care

Gov. Wolf: State has reached milestone in plan to vaccinate seniors in long-term care

HARRISBURG — Calling today a major milestone, the governor said everyone in a nursing home who wanted the vaccine has received it.

More than 600 skilled nursing facilities have received first and second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, and more than 315,000 total doses of vaccine have been administered among all long-term care facilities being vaccinated by CVS and Walgreens, according to Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf.

“This is an important milestone for Pennsylvania, and it marks key progress in ensuring that our most vulnerable residents have access to a vaccine,” Wolf said in a news conference Tuesday. “Skilled nursing, personal care and assisted living facilities have been hit hard by the pandemic, which is why this milestone is such an important one for us to recognize — because it shows how far we have come in protecting our most vulnerable residents.”

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Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable are among those prioritized in Phase 1a of the state’s COVID-19 vaccine plan, and the state has made a commitment to ensuring its skilled nursing and other long-term care facilities receive adequate vaccine supply to protect residents and staff, according to a news release.

Wolf said the state has provided two shots to residents and staff at all skilled nursing homes, and long-term care facilities should be completed by mid-March.

The vaccination milestone is part of the Federal Pharmacy Partnership program in which CVS and Walgreens are Pennsylvania’s partners, the release states.

Wolf also said federal money will soon be here to help get more vaccine into minority populations.

Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam said the vaccinations in long-term care continue.

“In fact, each facility will have at least three vaccination clinics, so we can ensure that as many residents and staff who want to get vaccinated have the opportunity. This way, if someone declined the vaccine in the first or second opportunity, they’ll have another chance,” she said.

Beam explained that this is just the first part of the long-term care vaccination mission and, going forward, the state seeks to maintain vaccination levels at all facilities by ensuring that new residents and staff can get vaccinated right away.

Regarding the shortage of second doses and the latest delivery delays caused by weather, Beam reassured Pennsylvanians that second doses will be available, and providers are receiving daily updates on the status of deliveries and guidance from the department.

“I know that the wait for more vaccine to be made available is long and hard for many Pennsylvanians, but we are making good progress vaccinating the most vulnerable among us, and the sooner we can reach these milestones, the sooner we can make vaccine available to Pennsylvanians who fall into the next phase of vaccine distribution,” Wolf said. “The progress we are making with the vaccine gives us all hope for a brighter future. We will continue to evaluate our vaccine distribution process to make it work better for Pennsylvanians and we will keep working toward important vaccination milestones, like this one. Together, we will see that hope for a brighter future come to pass.”

Wolf said in a call with the White House Tuesday morning, they were informed that the state should be caught up with supply by the end of the week.

Allegheny County receives 7,000 more doses of COVID-19 vaccine