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Nursing homes in Arkansas prepare to receive Covid-19 vaccine



Arkansas – Long-term care facilities in Arkansas are preparing to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as the FDA is preparing to approve at least two.

The Pfizer vaccine, which could be approved Thursday, will give priority to healthcare workers. Residents in long-term care facilities will be given priority for Moderna’s vaccine, which goes before the FDA a week later on Dec. 17.

This means staff and patients in long-term care facilities could receive the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine before the new year.

“This is a large effort, a big undertaking,” Rachel Bunch, the executive director of the Arkansas Healthcare Association said.

Bunch said long-term care facilities need about 40,000 vaccines in total. 

It’s still unclear how many Moderna vaccines the state will receive immediately after approval.

“A lot of that is left to be decided,” Bunch said.

Most of the more than 300 long-term care facilities have signed up for the state’s vaccine program. 

Under this program, each facility has partnered with a pharmacy that will deliver the vaccine once it is approved. The vaccine will be divided up between the participating pharmacies to distribute.

“Many facilities in Arkansas chose to partner with the pharmacy that provides their current services. They bring medications to the residents every day and there are very similar processes for things like flu shots,” Bunch said.

Bunch anticipates there will be an adequate amount to offer to frontline staff and patients across the state.

“It won’t be like one facility getting it on the first day… many facilities will be receiving it.”

If that changes and the state is not sent enough vaccines, the Healthcare Association will work with the health department to reprioritize who gets it first.

“We’re thankful for the opportunity to have this early and to have these resources to provide ultimately to our patients,” Bunch said.

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