On Dec. 21, 2020, long-term care residents and staff began receiving COVID-19 vaccinations under a statewide rollout plan that prioritizes Oregonians the pandemic disproportionally impacts.
Older adults and people with underlying health conditions are more likely to suffer life-threatening health consequences if they contract the virus. Given that the virus is so contagious, the risks are particularly high for those who live in large group settings. Because of this, an estimated 22,425 vaccine doses are planned for nursing facilities, and as the rollout continues, additional doses will be allocated for assisted living and residential care facilities. The Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS) and Oregon Health Authority (OHA) are working with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program to implement the COVID-19 vaccine plan in Oregon. The plan calls for the pharmacy partners involved — Consonus Pharmacy, CVS and Walgreens — to set up on-site vaccination clinics at the state’s long-term care facilities as well as smaller congregate care settings. Smaller settings include group homes for older adults, adults with disabilities and people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, as well as behavioral health residential care centers.
“We are full of hope that this vaccination program will reduce the suffering and hardship experienced by long-term care residents, staff and their families,” said ODHS Director Fariborz Pakseresht. “While we are pleased with the speed at which the vaccination program is rolling out, it will take some time to reach all facilities. In the meantime, we must remain vigilant and continue strict infection control policies and practices.”
This article first appeared in the Dec. 21, 2020 issue of Oregon Coronavirus Update.