Scott County long-term care and assisted living facilities expect to begin vaccinating staff and residents before the end of the year.

“As far as I’m concerned, it can’t come soon enough,” said Windsor Gardens executive director Carrie Johnson of the vaccines.

CVS and Walgreens pharmacies have contracted with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to start providing COVID-19 vaccines to nursing homes, including those here. The vaccines are crucial as 19 of the county’s 24 coronavirus deaths have been residents of long-term care facilities, among at least 106,000 of the nation’s COVID-19 deaths. 

A handful of vaccines have been distributed this week to nursing homes, but the broader nationwide effort is planned to start Monday.

Ashton Grove Senior Living has contracted with Walgreen’s and its first round of vaccines is set for Dec. 30, said Community Relations Director Melissa Hauke. Ashton Grove Senior Living, which is an assisted living center, falls behind nursing home facilities in the schedule for the vaccine.

“We are ready,” she said. “We have signed consent forms from staff and residents. Our residents are very excited. It has given them hope and a light at the end of the tunnel.”

The paperwork is still under way at Windsor Gardens, but everything is progressing, Johnson said.

“We are using CVS because we already had a relationship with them,” she said. “A lot of this we don’t know, but we are moving forward. We are working on getting permission from all of our residents, but most of our residents are excited about the vaccines.”

Windsor Gardens has not received a start date for its vaccines, Johnson said.

Kentucky will receive 76,050 doses of the Pfizer vaccine in two shipments of 38,025 each. The number of doses is based upon a formula using the number of health care workers and nursing home residents in the state, according to the federal government. Gov. Andy Beshear released a list of 11 front-line hospitals receiving the first doses, along with the long-term care facilities.

The operation and coordination of distributing the vaccines is being handled at the corporate level, including all information. However, websites for both CVS and Walgreens indicated each will start vaccines Dec. 21. CVS outlines a plan that includes three visits, three weeks apart, to most nursing homes because the Pfizer vaccine requires two shots. Facilities that receive the Moderna vaccine, which also requires two shots, will be done four weeks apart, the CVS website states.

At Ashton Grove, the vaccine center will be set up in the fitness center and there will be a four-hour window for staff and residents to receive their vaccinations, Hauke said.

“Our residents and staff are thrilled to be able to receive the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine before the end of the year,” she said. “We are already looking forward to 2021.”

Neither Windsor Gardens or Ashton Grove Senior Living reported experiencing much resistance to the vaccines, but instead representatives said most people were excited and anxious to get started.

“It is not required, but everyone is strongly encouraged to take it,” Hauke said.

Georgetown Community Hospital is waiting on the Moderna vaccine for its staff, which is expected to receive final approval from the Food and Drug Administration this week. 

WEDCO Health District is also waiting on the Moderna vaccine with plans to vaccinate first responders, said Dr. Crystal Miller, public health director. WEDCO has funding available for the current round of vaccines, she said. The federal government is paying for the actual vaccine, but the cost of staffing, supplies and travel will be paid at the state and local level.

WEDCO hopes to begin vaccinating first responders next week, she said.

Meanwhile, December is already trending towards the most confirmed cases with 576 in Scott County through Dec. 16, including 100 new cases this week.  Through Dec. 16, there have been 2,464 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Scott County. 

The number of hospitalizations continues to rise, as well with a 20 percent increase since the first of the month. Since the pandemic began in March, some 47 people have been hospitalized in Scott County due to COVID-19, up from 39 at the end of November. This number likely does not include people who may have been hospitalized in Lexington or elsewhere.

 

Mike Scogin can be reached at mscogin@news-graphic.com.

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