Pa. coronavirus update: DOH launches program to vaccinate more nursing home residents

Close up hands of caregiver doctor helping old woman at clinic.

Close up hands of caregiver doctor helping older woman at clinic. (Rido81/BigStock)

The Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) has launched a new program designed to vaccinate more residents and staff at long-term care facilities.

Under the program, the department will help pharmacies at long-term care facilities secure vaccine doses the federal government is directly allocating to “group-purchasing organizations,” including GeriMed, Innovatix and Managed Health Care Associates.

During a virtual news conference on Thursday, DOH Executive Deputy Secretary Keara Klinepeter said the long-term care pharmacies will partner with one of those groups to get vaccine doses. The department will help expedite that process for pharmacies.

“For most facilities, they’ll be able to simply go to their pharmacy partner, say that they need 50 residents, 25 staff, what have you, who need to be vaccinated. And then the pharmacy would work with the facility and set up an operational model to actually vaccinate those individuals,” said Klinepeter.

A recent department survey of Pennsylvania’s long-term care facilities showed that nearly 80% of residents and 50% of staffers have been vaccinated.

The new initiative follows the end of the Federal Pharmacy Partnership program, which helped vaccinate staff and residents at these facilities. The program wrapped up in February.

“We all need to continue to do our part to keep our most vulnerable Pennsylvanians safe,” said Klinepeter.

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