Long-term-care facilities covered by federal program scheduled to begin next week at earliest
Public health officials have repeatedly underscored the importance of protecting vulnerable nursing-home residents from the potentially deadly impacts of the coronavirus, given that nearly half of New Jersey’s confirmed COVID-19 fatalities involve long-term-care residents or staff.
But despite their inclusion in the group given priority access to the new coronavirus vaccines, residents and staff at long-term care facilities in New Jersey and elsewhere aren’t likely to be immunized until next week, at the earliest.
That’s because nursing homes, assisted-living facilities and other long-term care sites were encouraged to enroll in a federal partnership program — not slated to launch until Dec. 21 — that tasked drugstore chains CVS and Walgreens with operating vaccine clinics at these sites. Health care workers, who are also part of the priority group, began to get inoculations earlier this week at hospitals in New Jersey and around the nation that had received vaccine shipments in advance.