Assisted living facility in Katy scrambling to get second dose of COVID-19 vaccine in time

Friday, January 15, 2021
Assisted living facility in Katy scrambling to get 2nd dose of vaccine
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This week, Abbott said only a small fraction of the 487,500 vaccine doses dedicated to nursing homes and long-term care facilities have been administered.

KATY, Texas (KTRK) -- Gov. Greg Abbott claims it's taking too long to get vaccines to nursing homes and long-term care facilities in Texas through the federal program in partnership with CVS and Walgreens.

This week, Abbott said only a small fraction of the 487,500 vaccine doses dedicated to nursing homes and long-term care facilities have been administered, and more than 410,000 doses have not been reported or have not been given to the facilities as of Sunday.

"If I was going to wait on the state to give me a vaccine, we would still be waiting," said Janet Oldag, owner of Veranda House, an assisted living facility in Katy.

Oldag said she was persistent and went through every known channel to get her staff and residents at two different living facilities on the list to receive the vaccine. She said a local and independent pharmacy administered and supplied the first doses, and now they are waiting on the second shipment.

RELATED: COVID-19 vaccine distributed to Houston-area nursing homes

"Now, I'm working again and trying to call in favors and calling everyone I know to get the second dose," Oldag said. "Because, right now, there is no second dose and it's very frustrating because I have pumped this up to do vaccines. Everyone agreed to do them and I think it's great that we did them, but now we need the second one to really try to open up again."

Alton Kanak, owner and pharmacist at Katy Medical Pharmacy, said his pharmacy received 100 doses and administered them to the Veranda House and another care facility. He said he believes the problem is that the limited vaccine supply that is being distributed at one time and rural communities have less access to the supply.

"It's been frustrating," Kanak said. "We have no problem with giving the immunizations. Our problem is receiving the vaccine."

Kanak said he has 800 patients waiting on the waiting list for the first dose and 100 waiting for the second dose.

Terri Bennet, resident at Veranda House assisted living, said she was one of the first on the list to receive the first dose.

"Take the vaccine. Get it!" Bennet said. "It's a way to a better future. You know it's bound to be better than what we've had, so go line up for that vaccine."

CVS Pharmacy released the following statement:

"We're partnering with approximately 2,000 skilled-nursing facilities and assisted-living facilities across the state of Texas. Since we began vaccinating on Dec. 28 when the state chose to begin the program, we have vaccinated more than 1,150 long-term care facilities, reaching over 71,000 residents and staff. We are vaccinating 400 additional facilities this week, bringing us closer to completing first doses for all our locations. We continue to work closely with our partner facilities on scheduling and remain on track to meet our program commitments."

Walgreens spokesperson responded with this statement:

"We provide updates daily to the CDC and are exploring a path to make this same information available externally. States are determining activation dates for long-term care facilities and we are deploying clinics in accordance with that guidance. In accordance with CDC and state guidance, Walgreens provided COVID-19 vaccination clinics to skilled nursing facilities first and is expanding to assisted living and other types of facilities based on state activation dates.

States and facilities are continuing to finalize their plans on an ongoing, and sometimes daily basis. We are activating vaccinations as those plans are finalized."

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