COVID-19 vaccine slow to reach California’s nursing home residents, who are most likely to die from virus

California
A patient is removed from a Riverside nursing home amid a COVID-19 outbreak in this undated photo. Hospice workers, who frequently visit such facilities, face a shortage of protective equipment. (Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times)

A patient is removed from a Riverside nursing home amid a COVID-19 outbreak in this undated photo. Hospice workers, who frequently visit such facilities, face a shortage of protective equipment. (Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times)

As public health officials scramble to clear a backlog of unused COVID-19 vaccine by opening the process to anyone 65 or older, new data show they failed to quickly deliver shots to the vast majority of California’s most vulnerable residents, who were supposed to be the priority.

As of Sunday, only about 5% of long-term care facility residents in the statewide vaccination program — including people in skilled nursing homes and assisted living centers — had been vaccinated, according to California Department of Public Health data obtained by The Times.

And while the vaccines became available in the U.S. in mid-December, only 3% of California facilities in the program had been scheduled for their first visit from a vaccination team as of Sunday, the data show.

“I find that infuriating,” said Lee Collins, whose 91-year-old mother is in a Beverly Hills assisted living facility where nobody had been vaccinated as of midweek and no date had been scheduled for vaccinations to begin, according to the state data. “I thought the elderly were supposed to be the priority, but clearly that has not happened.”

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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