Oregon Department of Human Services and Oregon Health Authority are notifying long-term care facilities and small congregate settings that their residents and employees can get no-cost COVID-19 vaccinations when a vaccine becomes available, as part of a partnership between the federal government and two large, commercial pharmacies.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Oct. 16 that it was partnering with CVS and Walgreens to provide on-site COVID-19 vaccinations for residents of long-term care facilities — nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, residential care facilities, adult foster care homes and other community-based care facilities, such as group homes for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Employees also could get the vaccine through this program, but the CDC says they likely would receive it earlier than residents based on a recommendation to prioritize vaccination for health care personnel; any employee who did not already receive the vaccine could be vaccinated through the on-site clinics.
Registration to participate is 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on Oct. 29. Long-term care facilities that opt out of or don’t register for the clinics must provide an alternate plan, such as using their own on-site pharmacy to provide the COVID-19 vaccine to residents and employees, although these facilities would be responsible for all “end-to-end” processes and equipment, such as on-site storage, vaccination and reporting.
“This HHS program will be important in building our state’s vaccination capacity once a vaccine is approved, and it will help facilitate efficient vaccination of the long-term care population,” said Paul Cieslak, M.D., medical director for communicable diseases and immunizations at the OHA Public Health Division. “As a result, it will ease the burden on long-term care facilities for administering the vaccine to protect our most vulnerable population, and on local public health authorities that would otherwise be heavily involved in this process.”
Cieslak noted that 44% of the state’s COVID-19 deaths have been among residents of long-term care facilities.
Nursing homes and skilled nursing facilities can sign up for the on-site clinics at the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) website, but they must first be enrolled in the NHSN COVID-19 Module for Long Term Care Facilities, https://www.cdc.gov/nhsn/ltc/covid19/enroll.html. All other facilities will sign up via this online sign up form. Facilities that opt out of the program may be able to opt in later by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.