COVID vaccine: Nursing home location plays part in who is getting vaccinated

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By Terisa Estacio, KRON 4 News, February 1 2021

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – Advocates for long-term care residents and assisted nursing homes say after a very difficult rollout for the vaccine, progress is happening — That is the good news.  

However, there is some bad news still plaguing the most vulnerable in this pandemic.   

Getting vaccines into the arms of those living in skilled nursing facilities or long-term care centers has been of critical importance with the harsh reality – the pandemic has claimed more deaths among that population.  

However, making that happen has stumbled repeatedly.

“It is really a patchwork. We can’t get the data from California, so it is hard to know where we are at in all of this, and at the same time, people are still dying,” Mike Dark, with California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, said. 

To complicate an already murky situation, advocates say it seems each county is in its own unique battle thus the location of the facility plays a major factor in whether a resident or staff member has an appointment for one of the scarce shots. 

“In Contra Costa County, we are working hard, following up with mobile units and really working hand in hand with everyone,” Nicole Howell said. 

Nicole Howell, ombudsman for Contra Costa County, Solano, and Alameda County has her hands full fighting for getting thousands of facilities lined up.

“I have long said, the best Valentine gift would be to get these schedules in place,”  Howell said. 

“We helped get people lined up that had not registered,” Crista Barnett Nelson said. 

Crista Barnett Nelson with senior advocacy services of Sonoma County says it is a difficult and complex issue, with many roadblocks.

“They say to be patient but we are talking about lives, so hard to be patient about that,” Nelson said.