CHICAGO – Long term care facilities nationwide are now expected to be receiving COVID-19 vaccinations shortly before or soon after the Christmas holiday.
“CVS and Walgreens are directly contracted by the Federal Government to deliver those vaccines to long-term care facilities. The original schedule showed that they would be the week of December 21st, I know there has been some talk of delay,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker said during a press conference Wednesday afternoon.
Officials say the original proposed treatment timeline may have shifted due to a delay in expected shipment by the Federal Government.
“The first vaccinations by pharmacy teams into long term care starting with the skilled nursing facilities will begin the week of December 28th. We will be pushing the allotment for next week, the week of the 20th, to the pharmacies so then they will get it and begin the actual vaccinations the week of the 28th. That has been the plan and that’s still what we know of the plan. The only changes that might occur is with these decreased in allocation it might slow the process for the skilled nursing facilities, but we have to wait for more information where that lands.” Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike explained Wednesday.
A cut of nearly half of all vaccines expected to ship across the U.S. was announced Wednesday, cutting off millions of potential vaccine treatments across the United States. Situations like a reported transit ‘anomaly’ left Pfizer to reship new units to both California and Alabama after vials got too cold. In both cases, the vaccine’s storage temperature of -70 degrees fell to -92 degrees.
“I now no longer fully believe projections that are put in front of us by the Federal Government, having said that, we’re hopeful that they’re accurate,” Pritzker said.
Additional help could be on the way should Moderna’s vaccine be cleared by the FDA. In a statement Wednesday, General Perna reported nearly six million doses of the Moderna drug could be shipped if cleared.
“When you open a package of the Pfizer vaccine, you literally have five days between the time that you open that package, take it out of ultracold storage I should say, and the time it needs to be pushed into people’s arms. That has the tendency to cause spoilage if you don’t manage it properly.” Pritzker said Wednesday afternoon. “The Moderna vaccine, once you open a package, take it out of the regular freezer storage, you have a 30-day window to vaccinate people. That’s something we’re very hopeful about and it certainly makes things easier.”
According to a report by the Kaiser Family Foundation, COVID-19 has claimed more than 100,000 lives of residents and staff in long-term care facilities in the pandemic. A stat that was current as of the last week of November.