Gov. Abbott calls on CVS, Walgreens to speed up nursing home vaccinations

Coronavirus

Local agencies step up to fill the gap

AUSTIN (KXAN) — In a press conference on Monday, Gov. Greg Abbott said only a fraction of vaccines set aside for long-term care facilities have actually been used.

Abbott says the latest data shows CVS and Walgreens have only administered about 15% of the vaccines they have been given for those facilities.

“There are 412,188 of those doses for long-term care and nursing home residents that either have not yet been reported or are waiting to be given,” he said.

Brian Haddock, executive director of The Rose at Round Rock, considers the facility fortunate — Walgreens held a vaccine clinic at the assisted living facility on Thursday.

“From my end, one of those sources of anxiety is that our residents have been here and not going out for a significant period of time and so… if COVID is going to be brought into the building, it’s going to be by myself or my team members,” he explained. “Knowing that [staffers] have the vaccination, that they do, and that piece [of anxiety] is not there is tremendous.”

Haddock says 70 of their 76 residents signed up to get vaccinated at their first clinic, which ran smoothly. (Courtesy The Rose at Round Rock)

Haddock says they already have two other clinics scheduled for the remainder of the residents and those ready for their second shot.

He says The Rose and six other sister locations partnered with Walgreens to get vaccines.

“I feel very fortunate for a lot of things this past year, and this is just one of them,” Haddock said.

On Monday, Abbott called on the pharmacy companies to speed up their process.

Meanwhile, local agencies like Austin Public Health and Williamson County Health Department are stepping in to help long-term facilities that have not been able to get into the federal pharmacy program.

Debra Strahler, a spokesperson for Williamson County’s health department says they’ll begin administering 200 doses to those facilities this week. She says there are 20 who weren’t able to partner with pharmacies.

Strahler says some have been denied due to application filing errors, missing the deadline or applying too close to it. She says others report they were confirmed only to find out the system didn’t actually account for them.

Both agencies plan to use part of their vaccine allocations to help out.

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