Nursing home residents in the U.S. will begin receiving their first coronavirus vaccines later this week.
During a Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) briefing on Monday, officials said the individual states will decided when elderly Americans will received Pfizzer’s jab
‘Allocations for vaccines went out to the states, to the locations that they directed, and they are identifying in those populations who is first,’ said White House Operation Warp Speed chief operating officer General Gustave Perna.
‘We know that several states have already established and are going into long-term care facilities, they’ll go in there this week.’
It comes as Dr Anthony Fauci said on Monday that healthy people may start getting vaccines in April and that the U.S. could achieve herd immunity by the late summer.
In a briefing on Monday, General Gustave Perna said nursing home residents will begin being vaccinated in some states this week. Pictured: Sr. Gloria Cote (left) and Sr. Claire Robert play Rummikub at St. Chretienne Retirement Residence, a home for Catholic nuns in Marlborough, Massachusetts, August 2020
Perna (pictured) said it is up to individual states to decide when to inoculate elderly Americans and that more than 1,100 facilities will start on December 21
It comes as Dr Anthony Fauci (pictured) said healthy U.S. adults will likely receive vaccines as early as March or April 2021
Perna added that more than 1,100 long-term care facilities and nursing homes will begin vaccinations.
The federal government has partnered with pharmacy chains CVS and Walgreens to offer on-site coronavirus vaccinations to residents and staff members.
Under the agreement, the program will cover the cost of cold chain management, vaccinations and reporting requirements at no cost to facilities.
Long-term care facilities have been among the hardest hit, making up about 40 percent of the nation’s death toll, which currently stands at 300,267.
However, many residents and staff members are fearful of being vaccinated and worry whether or not enough testing was done.
‘You go get that first and let me know how you feel,’ Denise Schwartz, whose 84-year-old mother lives at an assisted living facility in East Northport, New York, told The Associated Press.
‘Obviously it would be horrible for her to get COVID, but is [the vaccine] totally safe for someone who’s elderly and in fragile health?’
It comes as during an interview on MSNBC, Fauci predicted Americans with no underlying health conditions could start getting vaccinated in April.
It could be ‘sometime by the end of March, the beginning of April, that the normal healthy man and woman in the street who has no underlying conditions would likely get it,’ he nation’s top infectious disease expert said.
He said he believes by late spring or early summer, the U.S. could reach ‘that umbrella of herd immunity.’
The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases added that if the majority of people receive the jabs, Americans may start returning to normal activities in late 2021.
‘By the time that we get into the fall, we can start approaching some degree of relief where the level of infection will be so slow in society, we can start approaching some form of normality,’ he said.
Fauci also said that he plans to be vaccinated against COVID-19 publicly to prove its safety to the general population.
‘As soon as my turn comes up, which likely will be very soon, I’m going to be available to get vaccinated publicly, so that people can see that I feel strongly that this is something we should do,’ he said.