JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – In Florida, nursing homes and assisted-living facilities are preparing for the COVID-19 vaccine.
The CDC recommended it be offered to health care personnel and residents in long-term care first.
Care facilities are beginning to educate staff members and residents about both vaccines because facilities can’t require or mandate their residents or care staff to get the vaccine.
The Chief Medical Director for ALG Senior, a company that runs Rosecastle at Deerwood memory care in Jacksonville, said its main priority is making sure all staff agrees to take the vaccine.
“It’s the long term care workers that really need to, to, to understand how critical they are, because often that’s the way it gets introduced in the community,” said Dr. Kevin O’Neil, Chief Medical Director ALG Senior. “You can’t terminate them in employment, but you can reassign them, you know, you can remove them from direct patient care responsibilities, maybe have them do some administrative or other type of clerical functions, but you can remove them from direct care. And that’s exactly that our approach is that we everyone understands that this is our moral mandate.”
Data from the Florida Department of Health shows more than 138,000 residents in long-term care facilities and more than 183,000 people employed by the long-term care facilities have contracted the sometimes deadly virus as of September.
In the draft plan outlining how Florida plans to distribute its first supply of vaccines, officials say they plan to help pharmacies establish clinics at long-term care facilities for vaccination delivery.
“We’re so close to getting where we need to be,” O’Neil said. “But it’s going to take us some time, you know, to achieve the type of immunity we need.”
Gov. Ron Desantis said Monday he expected the state to receive between 1 million and 2 million doses sometime in the middle of December.