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WI starts vaccinating residents, staff in long-term care facilities with help of CVS Health

Published: Dec. 28, 2020 at 2:59 PM CST
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Long-term health care facility residents and staff members started receiving their COVID-19 vaccines Monday in Wisconsin.

Two weeks ago, the state activated its ‘Pharmacy Distribution Program for Long-term Care’, a partnership with the CDC and CVS Health to distribute vaccines to the most vulnerable in Wisconsin.

“This partnership will help reduce the strain on our long-term care facilities and help deliver the vaccine to those in higher-risk populations,” said Governor Tony Evers. “Protecting our most vulnerable Wisconsinites is a top priority and will be a critical step for the success of Wisconsin’s COVID-19 Vaccine Program.”

The state has set aside 56,800 doses of the Moderna Vaccine for this phase of distribution.

“As we have seen throughout this pandemic, nursing home residents are susceptible to severe outcomes from COVID-19,” said Secretary-designee Andrea Palm. “That is why we coordinated with our federal partners and proactively reserved enough vaccine doses to advance this important program to protect some of our most vulnerable residents.”

CVS Health started inoculating residents and staff members in long-term health care facilities Monday. Under the current agreement, CVS Health will visit more than 1,800 long-term care facilities in Wisconsin, inoculating nearly 80,000 of the most vulnerable Wisconsinites over the next several weeks.

“Good thing for us is we do a lot of flu shot clinics throughout the flu season at these long-term care facilities so it was just that simple transition with learning how to take care of the temperature restrictions around these vaccines, but other than that our team were pretty well prepared,” said Johari Martin, CVS Health District Leader and registered pharmacist.

Martin said the vaccines are kept at depots with proper refrigeration. She said pharmacy teams will pick up the doses needed for a facility and bring it with them to the location. Once there, they put on personal protective equipment, fill out necessary paperwork and administer the shot.

“We take care of the cleaning in between, we take care of the discarding of all of our residue and it’s pretty much a in and out very quick process,” said Martin. “As we go room-to-room, in between each patient’s room, we’re asking our teams to ensure that they change gowns as well so taking lots of PPE with us because we want to make sure that we’re as careful as possible with the unknown here.”

In Ohio, Martin said its rollout last week went smoothly and she expects the same thing here in Wisconsin.

“As long as everyone stays positive, which I think we don’t have a problem with right now because everyone’s really excited to get back to normal, I think that Wisconsin will have an extremely smooth rollout as well,” said Martin.

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