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Health News Florida
News about coronavirus in Florida and around the world is constantly emerging. It's hard to stay on top of it all but Health News Florida and WUSF can help. Our responsibility at WUSF News is to keep you informed, and to help discern what’s important for your family as you make what could be life-saving decisions.

10% Of Assisted Living Facilities Reported Not Having Been Visited For Vaccinations Yet

walker next to nursing home bed.
iStock

About 90% of assisted living facilities in Florida have self-reported having a chance to have their staff and residents vaccinated, leaving 10% still waiting for the opportunity.

Florida's Director of Emergency Management may have spoken too soon recently when he said all residents and staff in the state's nearly 4,000 long term care facilities have had the chance to be vaccinated.

Jared Moskowitz told state Senate Select Committee on Pandemic Preparedness and Response that all these facilities have been visited, fulfilling a promise by Gov. Ron DeSantis to have it done by Jan. 31.

But according to the latest numbers from the Florida Department of Emergency Management, while all nursing homes were offered the chance to take the vaccine, about 90% Florida’s assisted living facilities have self-reported that they have been visited, leaving 10% that have not had the chance for the first dose of vaccinations yet.

Brian Lee, the director of the advocacy group Families for Better Care, said Moskowitz’s statement, saying all these facilities have been visited, is a completely different promise than the one of actually getting vaccinated.

“A visit is a far cry from actually putting shots in the arms of people,” Lee said. “And what we have been hearing is that folks still have not been inoculated. And that assisted living facility residents are desperate to get the vaccination.”

On Jan. 21, the Agency for Health Care Administration issued this notice explaining to assisted living facilities that CVS was unable to keep their appointments on Jan. 23 and beyond.

The final 10% of assisted living facilities who still have yet to receive the vaccine could have fallen under CVS’ purview. A statement from the Department of Emergency Management said “The Division has scheduled visits with all remaining assisted living facilities that have not been visited by CVS or Walgreens within the first week of February.

The State of Florida is focused on ensuring staff and residents of long-term care (LTC) facilities have access to the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible. Governor DeSantis understands how important this is and demonstrated his commitment by directing the Division of Emergency Management to accelerate vaccinations of LTC residents and staff by sending teams to supplement the efforts by CVS/Walgreens.
Samantha Bequer, Press Secretary, Florida Division of Emergency Management

"I just think that you need to put the nail in the coffin on this on this virus and get it out of these facilities by making sure that all of the residents and staff are vaccinated who want it as soon as possible,” Lee said.

He says the state should also make data more transparent to the public by publishing which facilities got the vaccine, and the percentage of employees and residents who chose to take it.

All Florida nursing homes have been offered the vaccine. Nearly 68% of residents and nearly 36% of staff in Florida’s nursing homes chose to receive the vaccine on the first visit.

Of the 90% of assisted living facilities who self-reported having been offered the vaccine, more than 82% of residents and more than 35% of staff in Florida’s assisted living facilities chose to receive the vaccine on the first visit.

Residents and staff are not required by the state of Florida to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, and only do so if they choose to. All facilities that receive the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine will receive an appointment for their residents and staff to receive their second dose by the same provider. Additionally, anyone who did not receive the first dose on the first visit will have the opportunity to do so on the second visit and will receive their second dose on the vendor’s third visit to the facility
Samantha Bequer, Press Secretary, Florida Division of Emergency Management

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