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COVID-19

Pharmacy chains will lead vaccine delivery to seniors in long-term care

Mitchell Hartman Dec 16, 2020
Heard on: Marketplace Morning Report
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A man holds his wife's hands through the wall of a plastic "hug tent" outside a Colorado nursing facility. Elderly people in long-term care are prioritized for COVID-19 vaccination. Rick T. Wilking/Getty Images
COVID-19

Pharmacy chains will lead vaccine delivery to seniors in long-term care

Mitchell Hartman Dec 16, 2020
A man holds his wife's hands through the wall of a plastic "hug tent" outside a Colorado nursing facility. Elderly people in long-term care are prioritized for COVID-19 vaccination. Rick T. Wilking/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

We saw scenes this week of American health care workers getting the first approved coronavirus vaccines — from Pfizer. Moderna’s vaccine could get the same emergency-use authorization this week.

Also at the front of the line for vaccination: those who work in long-term care facilities and nursing homes, as well as the vulnerable, mostly elderly residents they care for.

But this very first round of vaccines isn’t getting to those long-term care facilities just yet.

At most long-term care facilities, vaccines will be given to residents and caregivers by staff from big pharmacy chains. That system’s taking a couple of extra weeks to get up and running, said Claire Hannan at the Association of Immunization Managers.

“We don’t want to have CVS and Walgreens going into long-term care facilities and some of the residents aren’t ready, they haven’t completed the consent form, there isn’t a space set up for them,” she said.

Hannan said it makes sense to deliver vaccines this way. Pharmacies already have similar arrangements to supply drugs and flu shots to these facilities.

Getting millions of long-term care residents and workers vaccinated with two doses will be challenging, said Joe Gaugler at the University of Minnesota.

“Inherently complex health conditions that older persons living in nursing homes are experiencing makes targeting that delivery fairly complicated,” he said.

The longer-term challenge, Gaugler said, will be to get family and friends vaccinated so elderly residents can have visitors again.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

What are the details of President Joe Biden’s coronavirus relief plan?

The $1.9 trillion plan would aim to speed up the vaccine rollout and provide financial help to individuals, states and local governments and businesses. Called the “American Rescue Plan,” the legislative proposal would meet Biden’s goal of administering 100 million vaccines by the 100th day of his administration, while advancing his objective of reopening most schools by the spring. It would also include $1,400 checks for most Americans. Get the rest of the specifics here.

What kind of help can small businesses get right now?

A new round of Paycheck Protection Program loans recently became available for pandemic-ravaged businesses. These loans don’t have to be paid back if rules are met. Right now, loans are open for first-time applicants. And the application has to go through community banking organizations — no big banks, for now, at least. This rollout is designed to help business owners who couldn’t get a PPP loan before.

What does the hiring situation in the U.S. look like as we enter the new year?

New data on job openings and postings provide a glimpse of what to expect in the job market in the coming weeks and months. This time of year typically sees a spike in hiring and job-search activity, says Jill Chapman with Insperity, a recruiting services firm. But that kind of optimistic planning for the future isn’t really the vibe these days. Job postings have been lagging on the job search site Indeed. Listings were down about 11% in December compared to a year earlier.

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