Vaccination efforts begin at Michigan skilled nursing homes

Karen Bouffard
The Detroit News

Michigan's effort to vaccinate residents and staff at skilled nursing homes got underway Monday, with the first inoculations provided by local pharmacists, state health officials announced. 

Michigan's 91,000 nursing home workers and patients have top priority to receive the potentially life-saving inoculations under Michigan's vaccine distribution plan. 

Michigan's 91,000 nursing home workers and patients have top priority to receive the potentially life-saving inoculations.

The vaccinations are being administered by pharmacists from Walgreens and CVS Pharmacy though a national partnership formed to speed the delivery of COVID-19 vaccines to nursing homes.   

The pharmacists themselves are vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine as part of the program.

Those vaccinated on Monday were given their first shot of the two-dose COVID-19 vaccine developed by Moderna, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services officials said in a press release. 

“This is a great day for older Michiganders, their families and the dedicated men and women who care for them," Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said in the press release Monday. "Now, we have developed a plan that will help us distribute a safe and effective vaccine to our nursing home residents and staff.” 

Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, Michigan's chief medical executive, said residents of skilled care facilities are at high-risk for developing severe illness or dying from the virus. 

“(E)arly vaccination of both residents and those caring for them is critical to help protect this population,” Khaldun said. “We are pleased that more than 5,000 long-term care facilities – including more than 400 skilled nursing facilities – have been enrolled in the program in Michigan to receive the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine.”

Vaccinations will soon be extended to assisted living facilities, personal care homes, residential care, adult family homes, adult foster homes, HUD supportive housing for the elderly and veterans’ homes, state health officials said.  A list of sites enrolled in the program is available at Michigan.gov/COVIDvaccine.

kbouffard@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @kbouffardDN