COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
As the vaccine distribution plans roll out, health care providers are concerned for their elderly patients who are receiving home health care.
According to the state's vaccination plan, long-term care facility patients and staff are set to receive the first round of coronavirus vaccines. Moderna vaccine which received federal approval last week has been chosen to be used for those patients and staff members.
Missouri has partnered with CVS and Walgreens to administer the vaccine to those facilities.
Most home health care organizations are affiliated with a hospital, and the hospitals will ensure that its workers receive the vaccine. Home health care organizations that are not affiliated with a hospital will have to go through local health departments to receive the vaccine.
Kristi Campbell, Director of the Cole County Health Department, said the plan for vaccinating home health care patients and nurses will follow the state of Missouri's vaccination distribution plan. Campbell says she expects homebound citizens to visit their doctor's office for the vaccine -- that or their at-home health care provider will administer the vaccine.
Campbell included the health department also expects to use a mobile unit funded through the CARES Act to perform onsite vaccinations.
"We also anticipate working with other community partners like the hospitals, the Community Health Center of Central Missouri and Cole County EMS to ensure that vaccines are available to all who are interested," Campbell said.
Right At Home Senior Care, a local at-home care facility in Columbia said it's waiting on instructions and a plan from Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human Services. The facility said they won't require a vaccine for their patients but they want to vaccinate any patient who wants a vaccine.
Other facilities like Emerest is concerned about its patients and staff located in rural areas not receiving the vaccine.
Nate Cohn, the Administrator of Emerest Health of Missouri, said there's a concern for rural areas not receiving the vaccine for those who are part of the state's vaccination plan. The vaccine's need for freezer storage concerns those who are out in rural areas and not apart of a large hospital organization, that they may not (initially) receive the vaccine
"Distribution to small, rural areas that may or may not even have a health clinic is obviously going to be kind of the last stop on their road," Cohn said. "We understand that distribution for a much rural area is difficult."
Lisa Cox, spokeswoman for The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, said, "Nurses providing home care are still considered patient-facing health care workers who are part of our Phase 1A population. There is still an exceptionally limited supply of vaccine available currently in Missouri. We will ensure access to Phase 1A eligible individuals over the course of the next month or two, based upon available supply. As the supply of vaccine allocations to Missouri grows, we will provide more communication to physicians and other health providers that have not yet been vaccinated by their employer or a community partner."
"Those living at home and receiving home care would not be part of the same group as long-term care residents due to the vulnerability associated with congregate living. Assuming these individuals (home care) are over 65 and/or have underlying medical conditions, it is likely they would be offered vaccination in Phase 1B. The timeline for this is yet to be determined as it's all based upon available supply from our federal partners."
More information about the vaccine rollout plan can be found on the state's COVID vaccine website.