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Long term care centers prepare to receive COVID vaccines

Published: Oct. 28, 2020 at 9:13 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - As drug makers rush to produce a COVID-19 vaccine, critical groups wait for their solution to the pandemic.

Long term care facilities will be among the first in the state to receive the vaccine under the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Emergency Use Authorization (EUA).

Vaccine production consists of three trial phases prior to approval by the FDA.

However, an EUA allows some people to receive vaccines before it’s released to the general public.

Those in long term care facilities are in that group, and facility management has been gearing up to accommodate the vaccine arrival.

Here’s what they have planned. Long term care center residents are deemed a high risk population.

They will be among the first in the state to receive COVID-19 vaccines.

The Trump Administration has created a federal program to help with distribution.

“We have just finalized a partnership with CVS and Walgreens, two places you know pretty well I guess, to immediately deliver the vaccine directly to nursing homes at no cost to our seniors,” said President Donald Trump.

However, the North Dakota COVID-19 Vaccination Plan draft acknowledges the state “does not have many chain pharmacies.”

So, the Department of Health is permitting other options for vaccination.

One way would be to contract with an independent pharmacy, which is what the Missouri Slope long-term care facility has planned.

“We have a private pharmacy in house that rents space in our building. Rather than us trying to work through a different pharmacy that we don’t have a relationship with, that doesn’t know our residents, we have the opportunity to have Valley View Pharmacy be our distributor of the future COVID vaccine,” said Missouri Slope President/CEO Reier Thompson.

Another option would be to work with local public health, which is what Sheridan Memorial Home has arranged.

“I have it arranged with Public Health to get our vaccines done through them instead of through CVS,” said Sheridan Memorial Home Nursing Director Missy Axt.

The drafted plan states the vaccines will be provided at no cost. However, providers will be able to charge a limited administration fee.

Patients unable to pay the fee can submit a claim for reimbursement.

Thompson says that the vaccine cannot be mandated because it is under the EUA.

Meaning, long term care residents can choose whether to receive one.

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