COVID-19 vaccine: Who are the priority populations?
Health care workers and long-term care residents are the top priority when it comes to COVID-19 vaccine distribution at Good Samaritan Society locations across the United States.
Vaccination clinics, operated by Walgreens and CVS, are well underway for these groups. When it comes to independent living residents and home health clients, your turn to get a shot depends on your age, health status and the state you live in. Some states are using a pharmacy partner to administer the vaccine while others are tapping local health systems.
Good Samaritan Society – Pendleton Manor in West Virginia was one of the first senior living locations in the country to host a COVID-19 vaccination clinic back on Dec. 19.
“We were in the first week of distribution,” administrator Cody Brooks says.
Since then, many of the center’s residents, from skilled nursing to assisted living, have already received their second doses. That list includes 89-year-old Linnie Hartman.
“It makes me feel good,” Linnie says. “I want to protect myself. I want to protect others.”
More than half of the staff and upwards of 75-percent of the long-term care residents here have signed up for the vaccine.
“We put up the best defense we possibly could without a vaccine. Now that a vaccine is here, it feels like reinforcements,” Cody says.
Each of the Society's locations have multiple clinics scheduled to ensure as many people as possible can sign up.
Who is up next?
Shots are going out as fast as possible to long-term care residents and health care workers at Society locations.
Society chief medical officer Gregory Johnson, M.D., says states vary on where they’re at with distribution. You should check with your state's health department for the latest information. For most states, Dr. Johnson says two specific groups are next.
“75-plus is the second high priority group. They’re mixed in a bit with health care workers depending on what state you’re in. Then, 65 and older or folks who have some chronic medical conditions who are 16-years-old all the way up to the top in terms of age,” Dr. Johnson says.
If you live at Good Samaritan Society, you have better access to the vaccine. Cody says that makes Society locations safer than most.
“‘Is it safe to receive care at GSS (Good Samaritan Society)?’ I would say yes. Absolutely. I would encourage that,” Cody says.
Many Society locations are scheduled to host three vaccination clinics. Outside of those clinics, the centers will work with their communities to get the vaccine for any remaining residents still needing vaccination.
Clients living at home, or not in a congregate senior living setting, will receive vaccine when COVID-19 vaccine distribution is widespread and available through traditional distributors.