Texas partners with CDC to offer free COVID-19 vaccines at nursing homes, long-term care facilities

Texas

A nurse prepares a shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at Guy’s Hospital in London, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020, as the U.K. health authorities rolled out a national mass vaccination program. U.K. regulators said Wednesday that people who have a “significant history’’ of allergic reactions shouldn’t receive the new Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine while they investigate two adverse reactions that occurred on the first day of the country’s mass vaccination program. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, Pool)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Residents and employees at nursing homes and long-term care facilities in Texas will be able to get free COVID-19 vaccinations through a federal program that the state is now joining.

Gov. Greg Abbott sent out a news release Friday morning that Texas will take part in the Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care program, which is an effort through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to offer on-site COVID-19 vaccination services at nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

This announcement comes a day after a key independent panel recommended that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration grant emergency use to a COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech. The official authorization from the FDA is expected in the next few days, experts predict.

“The Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program will help the State of Texas facilitate safe vaccinations among some of our most vulnerable populations, and it will help us protect residents and staff of long-term care facilities from COVID-19,” Abbott wrote in a statement. “I thank the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for offering this program free of charge to these facilities and for working alongside us to keep our communities safe.” 

Through the CDC program, the governor explained Walgreens and CVS employees will go to facilities to offer free shots to any resident or employee who wants one. Abbott said so far more than 1,200 skilled nursing facilities and over 2,000 other long-term care facilities in Texas signed up for this program, which totals more than 225,000 certified beds.

The governor’s office shared pharmacies should receive the first vaccines included in this program during the week of Dec. 21, and the program is expected to begin administering them on Dec. 28.

Any facility that would like to enroll in the pharmacy program can do so through the Immunization Program at the Texas Department of State Health Services.

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