Long-term care facilities gear up to distribute COVID-19 vaccine

The CDC announced Monday some of the first batches of COVID-19 vaccines will go to nursing homes.

This is news long-term care facilities have been waiting for for months and now they are trying to figure out how to distribute it. The CDC announced Monday that long-term care facilities would be among the first to get the COVID vaccine.

"I was so excited when I saw that yesterday. I opened my Facebook and breaking news," said Carviz Carlos, who runs Gracious Age Assisted Living in Sanford. He has been gearing up for this for months. "Two months ago, I got an email from the state that we have to register on the CDC Pharmacy Partnership for Long Term Care Program."

Carlos registered back then. As soon as the FDA approves the vaccine, CVS or Walgreens will vaccinate the 46 members of his staff and 76 residents at the facility.

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"We have to make all the logistics, calling the family, getting consents, and then getting all our staff ready to be here, even if they’re off, so they could receive the vaccine," said Carlos. It's a relief for the loved ones of residents. "I’ve seen way too much isolation killing folks, actually, actually killing folks."

Lisa Warren's husband suffers from early-onset Alzheimer's. He's at a facility in Winter Springs. He had COVID-19 and recovered at home with her and is now back at the facility.

These vaccines, Warren says, will be a game-changer, telling FOX 35 that "it offers me more access to my husband. I was a part of my husband’s world and without being able to go there now but twice a week for an hour, I’m not a part of his world."

Whether to get vaccinated is still up to each individual. Warren explained that "we would have to give permission as family members. We have to give permission now when they get a flu vaccine."

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"It’s not mandatory. So, only staff and residents that actually give consent to receive the vaccine," said Carlos. "It is a concern because the reason why you’re getting vaccinated is because you want to cut down the spread of the virus." 

But it's still manageable. 

Warren explained, "I think that’s always out there. Everyone has their own opinions and ideas these days and even with the flu vaccine, there are some people that don’t authorize the facilities to give their loved ones the flu vaccines."

Carlos says he will be attending a webinar with CVS about distribution next week.

Tune in to FOX 35 Orlando for the latest Central Florida news.