CVS starts COVID-19 vaccinations in long-term care facilities, as part of state pharmacy program

NOW: CVS starts COVID-19 vaccinations in long-term care facilities, as part of state pharmacy program

MILWAUKEE (CBS) -- The first round of COVID-19 vaccinations in long-term care facilities in Wisconsin is underway.

The state partnered with CVS and Walgreens to give the doses to those who opted in.

Governor Evers announced the launch on Monday, Dec. 28.

"The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) chose to use the Moderna vaccine for this program and has allocated 56,800 doses to the federal pharmacy partners to initiate vaccinating long-term care residents and staff in phase 1a," said the governor in a news release.

In Wisconsin, CVS Health is giving Moderna vaccines to residents and staff in skilled nursing homes.

They say the process is similar to their flu clinics.

“We do have a consent form that residents or power of attorney would fill out with a screening questionnaire, and then give us permission to provide them the vaccination,” said CVS Health District Leader Ashley Pascavis.

Pascavis said CVS staff will return in four weeks to give the second dose.

They will visit each site a total of three times.

“At that second visit we’ll also do anyone we missed," she explained. "Maybe someone didn't have the consent form, they were ill, they weren't able to get the screening form filled out or were not comfortable that date, we'll be doing those first doses as well. And then doing a final, third visit for those final second doses.”

She said their work will take about 12 to 14 weeks.

Kurosh Dejgosha is owner and president of Willowbrook Senior Living in Milwaukee.

His three facilities have more than 40 employees and 60 residents.

“For them (residents), this is the biggest risk that they have, and my job, my number one responsibility, is their health and safety," he said.

He chose CVS as their vaccine partner and said the assisted living site is just waiting for a date.

“The residents, in general, are all okay with it. They have some apprehensions, as I think most people have a little bit of apprehension about something new and how quickly it came about," he added.

One state health care advocate applauded this next step in fighting the coronavirus – but says people should remain cautious.

“We’re not at the end of the tunnel, yet," Rick Abrams, president and CEO of the Wisconsin Health Care Association and Wisconsin Center for Assisted Living, said.

"So, people still need to wear their masks, keep their distance from other people and wash their hands as often as possible," he said.

Upon state approval, CVS said assisted living facilities will be next.

CVS will vaccinate about 800 sites in Southeastern Wisconsin and more than 2,000 across the state.

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