Historic public health campaign introduces vaccines with some of the commonwealth’s most vulnerable citizens
|Boone County Judge Executive, Gary Moore, with Carespring officials.|
Today, Gov. Andy Beshear announced that several long-term care facilities in the commonwealth began administering the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, including Boonespring in Union.
On Monday, the Governor showed images from the first long-term care residents in Kentucky to get a shot of the coronavirus vaccine authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The vaccinations follow a recommendation from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, which advises the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), that the initial phase of the COVID-19 vaccination program should be offered to health care personnel and residents of long-term care facilities. Most assisted living facilities and skilled nursing facilities have enrolled in the federal Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program implementing COVID-19 vaccination. Walgreens and CVS are providing services to the facilities, including follow-up visits.
|Staff lining up to get the Covid-19 vaccine at Boonespring.|
Walgreens pharmacy team members will provide COVID-19 vaccinations in approximately 800 long-term care facilities across Kentucky and 11 additional states the week of Dec. 21, including many in rural and urban areas.
CHFS Secretary Eric Friedlander described the day’s events as “gratifying, the beginning of an end, but with the finish line still at a considerable distance.
“After months of battling the pandemic, which has made a tragic and indelible impact on Kentucky’s seniors, given that over 66% of COVID-19-related deaths have been among residents of these facilities, today is as unforgettable as March 6, 2020.”
The CDC estimates completion of vaccine distribution to long-term care facility residents within the next four-to-five weeks.
CHFS Inspector General Adam Mather described the vaccine campaign as “impactful.” He expressed encouragement with reaching today’s milestone.
“The Commonwealth of Kentucky has taken bold and decisive steps to curb the impacts of the pandemic, starting with Gov. Beshear’s executive order that paused visitation for months,” Mather said. “This led to a discernible slowing of the virus and contributed to fewer deaths than would have otherwise been the case.”
Additionally, a long-term care advisory task force was assembled to provide guidance from a range of professionals, including geriatricians, physicians, eldercare advocates and ethicists.
Long-term care staff were trained on infection-prevention. CARES Act funding helped connect long-term care residents with the people they care about via electronic tablets, and continuity of care received a boost from a heavier reliance on telehealth.