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Texas nursing homes prepare for initial distribution of coronavirus vaccine

The coronavirus has led to the deaths of more than 4,000 people who lived in long-term care facilities in Texas.

SAN ANTONIO — As a nation waits for the federally-approved coronavirus vaccine to be distributed, those working and living in nursing homes are preparing.

Healthcare workers and residents living in long-term care facilities are among the first on the list to be eligible to receive the coronavirus vaccine in the coming weeks.

Kevin Warren, president and CEO of the Texas Health Care Association, said the more than 3,000 long-term care facilities across the state are getting ready for day one of rolling out the vaccine.

“If we can begin the administration of the vaccination process then that will ideally cutting down and reducing the mortality rate that COVID has with residents in long term care facilities,” Warren said.

7% of Texas’ coronavirus cases come from those living in long-term care facilities, according to Warren. The focus now is on screening potential candidates for the upcoming vaccine while realizing not everyone will be on board.

“One of the things that we’re encouraging facilities to do is to not only begin discussions with the residents but also the staff as well about the process and what it’s going to be like and obtaining consents,” Warren said.

Continued education on the vaccine and its known side effects is vital in the days leading up to distribution.

He adds there are some challenges ahead with making sure the virus’ spread is cut down awhile administering a shot that could save lives.

“Managing the long term when you got staff that may turn over or go to another facility and so how do we ensure that staff coming into the building are vaccinated and so that we’re keeping track of everything in accordance with the vaccine process,” Warren said.

The first doses could be distributed and administered within the couple weeks pending FDA approval.

More than 4,000 long-term care residents have died due to the coronavirus.