R.I. nursing homes ready to distribute vaccine if approved

WARWICK, R.I. (WLNE) – Rhode Island is preparing for the green light from the FDA on emergency approval use for Pfizer’s vaccine.

The Department of Health is laying out distribution plans and those in the first phase to receive the vaccine are getting ready to accept it.

Those in the first phase include nursing homes, healthcare workers, first responders and those with significant underlying health conditions.

Scott Fraser, President and CEO of the Rhode Island Health Care Association says nursing homes are prepared to kick-start the process of distribution to its residents and staff the moment the FDA gives approval.

“We know how difficult it’s been on families and how difficult it’s been on residents to not be able to see each other in person,” Fraser said. “Hopefully if the vaccination is successful down the line, those restrictions will ease up.”

Fraser says the 80 nursing homes, 7,500 residents and 10,000 employees across the state are among those in phase one to receive the vaccine.

“We’re pleased we are at the front of the line,” Fraser said. “That’s something we’ve advocated for quite a while. We think it’s very important our staff and residents are among the first to get vaccinated. It looks like that’s going to be taking place.”

He says he expects approval today and there’s a lot of anticipation inside the long-term care facilities leading up to the decision.

“All of our homes have signed up with either CVS or Walgreens to provide the vaccines,” Fraser said. “Those drug facilities will come to our homes with the vaccinations for our staff and residents.”

However, health officials warn it will be a slow process. The state is set to get 10,000 doses of Pfizer’s vaccine if approved followed by 19,000 of Moderna’s.

“I think folks are all looking for something to help get us past all the problems we’ve seen in society. Not just nursing homes, but for the illness of the staff and for the residents, if we can get vaccinated, that’s going to go a long way.”

Categories: Coronavirus, News, Rhode Island, Warwick