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Vaccinations begin in Michigan nursing homes, other facilities as part of pharmacy program


More than 5,000 long-term care facilities in Michigan are expected to receive the Moderna vaccine from either CVS Pharmacy or Walgreens in the coming weeks, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

Through a partnership with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the pharmacy chains will set up three vaccination clinics at each enrolled site over a 12-week period.

CVS confirms vaccinations began Monday, December 28. 

The sites will include nursing homes, homes for the aged, adult foster care facilities, and a slew of other types of congregate living facilities. 

Both pharmacies will require consent from residents and staff before administering vaccines.

Salli Pung, Michigan’s long-term care ombudsman, says for the process to go smoothly, it will be important for facilities to provide residents with clear, digestible information about their options.

“Sometimes we bombard people with too much,” she said. “And I feel like some of the materials that I’ve looked at about the vaccine, it’s way more than what I would need, and I don’t live in a nursing home.”

Brenda Kretzschmer is CEO of the Tuscola County Medical Care Facility, a nursing home in Caro. She says many of her 150  residents had the experience of getting the polio and MMRvaccines for themselves or their children when they first came out.

“They’re used to rolling up their sleeve, they want this pandemic to end,” she said.

She says her staff of 350 are a bit more divided.

“A lot of people have said, ‘Well I don’t think I’ll get it with the first clinic, but I’ll probably get it with the second,’” she said. “Like, they wanna make sure that I don’t fall over dead first.”

Kretzschmer says she’ll be one of the first in line to get a shot, and that she expects CVS to set up its first clinic at the nursing home in early January.

As of last week, long-term care facilities had reported 4,354 resident deaths and 59 staff deaths from COVID-19 to the state health department. But without all facilities reporting, that’s likely an undercount.

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Will Callan, a reporter for Michigan Radio, hails from the Bay Area, where he lived in Oakland and San Francisco and reported for local newspapers and magazines. He enjoys a long swim in chilly water (preferably followed by a sauna) and getting to know new cities. That's one reason he's excited to be in Ann Arbor, which he can already tell has just the right combo of urban grit and natural beauty to make him feel at home.
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