EXPLAINING THE DELAYS: COVID-19 vaccinations in long-term care facilities

KNWA

One reason? AR long-term care employees are opting out of getting vaccinated.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – Governor Asa Hutchinson continues to express frustration with the rate of vaccination in long-term care facilities, but the Arkansas Health Care Association says “it’s going really well”.

I have been a little disappointed in some of them not moving quicker.

GOVERNOR ASA HUTCHINSON, (R) ARKANSAS

KNWA/FOX 24 asked Arkansas Health Care Association Executive Director Rachel Bunch what her comment was to Governor Hutchinson being disappointed in the rate of vaccinations:

“It’s a big process with a lot of moving parts and we’re doing the best that we can to get it done as quickly as possible,” she said. “It’s also a new process.” 

On Tuesday, January 19, the Arkansas Department of Health reported there were only 29 vaccines administered to long-term care facilities by CVS and Walgreens.

ADH WEBSITE 1/19

Bunch said that number was inaccurate due to a lag in reporting.

“Walgreens has completed their first clinics for all of their homes,” she said. “CVS I think they had 18 clinics set up this week, so that number should be higher than 29.”

Regardless, Bunch said vaccinating those in long-term care facilities has been a challenge for a number of reasons.

Getting consent forms is one of them.

It’s a long process.

RACHEL BUNCH, ARKANSAS HEALTH CARE ASSOCIATION

KNWA/FOX 24 asked why this wasn’t done before the vaccines arrived.

According to Bunch, facilities could not start this process until the Moderna vaccine was approved for emergency use.

“Those things do take a lot of time to obtain,” she said. “We answer questions, follow up, and there’s back and forth between family members.”

Bunch said there’s also another challenge – long-term care employees opting out of getting vaccinated.

We have some facilities in some parts of the state where we’re seeing a lower uptake of vaccines from staff members.

RACHEL BUNCH, ARKANSAS HEALTH CARE ASSOCIATION

According to Bunch, these issues are few and far between.

“The vast majority of our facilities, patients, and staff have already been offered the vaccine the first time,” she said.

She said they are working hard through outreach, education, and constant communication with long-term care facilities, to get those who haven’t gotten a vaccine – vaccinated.

“We’re doing everything we can to get as many vaccines to our residents and employees as quickly as possible,” she said.

Bunch said she’s confident the state will will reach the governor’s goal of setting up a vaccine clinic at every long-term care facility by the end of January.

We’re still on track to meet that goal he gave us.

RACHEL BUNCH, ARKANSAS HEALTH CARE ASSOCIATION

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