Westlake Nursing Home Resident Calls Vaccine Rollout Chaotic

People in long-term care facilities are considered at risk and are part of Phase 1A of the state's vaccine plan. Westlake Nursing Home officials say all residents will receive vaccinations by Feb. 20, 2021, despite the confusion at the first vaccination clinic on Jan. 9. [BlurryMe / Shutterstock]
People in long-term care facilities are considered at risk and are part of Phase 1A of the state's vaccine plan. Westlake Nursing Home officials say all residents will receive vaccinations by Feb. 20, 2021, despite the confusion at the first vaccination clinic on Jan. 9. [BlurryMe / Shutterstock]

Brookdale Westlake Village resident Rose Allen thought she was going to get a COVID-19 vaccine on Jan. 9, but when she went to the lobby, Allen found what she described as chaos.

Allen, who lives in an independent living residence, arrived at the designated vaccination area with her assigned number—61—but discovered the CVS pharmacists only brought 60 doses of the vaccine, so she didn't get the shot that day.

“It was just so disorganized,” Allen said. “I think even if they brought enough (vaccine), they’d be still giving the shots."

Most of Brookdale's 160 residents were in the lobby and had been assigned numbers, Allen said.

They were not told there weren't enough doses of the vaccine to go around until they arrived in the lobby, she said.

Allen is in a priority group to receive the vaccine in Ohio, according to the schedule developed by state officials. Seniors living in congregate settings are part of Phase 1A of the state's vaccine plan, along with health care workers and first responders.

“Nobody was denied a vaccine. They just couldn’t get a vaccine that day, but we have two other clinics for them to get their vaccine,” said Tina Gendics, Brookdale’s executive director.

Anyone who wasn’t able to get the shot on Jan. 9 will get it in a planned second clinic on Jan. 30, Gendics said.

There will also be a third clinic on Feb. 20, she said.

The pharmacy chain CVS Health supplied the vaccine and administered it at Brookdale Westlake Village, Gendics said. 

CVS officials said each facility is responsible for scheduling. According to spokesman Charlie Rice-Minoso, CVS brought the number of vaccines needed, based on the number Brookdale provided.

"Our pharmacy team brought adequate vaccine supply based upon the confirmed headcount communicated by the facility, whose administrators were aware in advance of the number of doses our team was bringing,"  Rice-Minoso said in an email. 

The most at-risk patients at each facility were prioritized, according to a CVS press release.

The vaccination process overall is much slower than expected nationwide, and in Ohio, the process isn’t any faster. As of Jan. 12, about 2.6 percent of Ohioans have received at least the first dose.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has criticized the process for not moving fast enough, but hospital and city government officials have said the mandatory data collection for the state is one of the reasons the process has moved slowly. Sporadic shipments of the vaccine from the manufacturers have made scheduling difficult.

Allen is concerned that if CVS didn’t bring enough doses for everyone for the first clinic, the pharmacists won’t bring enough doses the next time.

“If 60 people are going to get their second dose, and if they only bring that many doses, the rest of the people here will never get a vaccination,” Allen said.

But according to Gendics, Allen doesn’t need to be concerned.

“Everybody will be vaccinated by Feb. 20 who wants to be,” Gendics said.

CVS Health is providing COVID-19 vaccines at skilled nursing facilities in 49 states and has administered 667,283 vaccines nationwide as of Jan. 11.

It has administered over 43,000 vaccines at skilled nursing and long-term care facilities in Ohio, according to data on the pharmacy's website. 

 

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