BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — The rollout of the updated COVID-19 vaccine is underway, but some pharmacies are experiencing a supply shortage.
This can be harmful for nursing homes, which depend on pharmacies to provide the vaccine to their older residents.
Nursing homes throughout Central Alabama told CBS 42 they have not experienced a shortage in receiving the new vaccine. However, there is a process they have to go through before they’re able to distribute it to residents.
That process begins with notifying their residents and their families about the new vaccine and asking for their consent.
“Once we have all that together then we can go ahead and put together a request for vaccinations from our pharmacy. We’re fortunate enough to have a pharmacy right on our campus,” said Patrick Davies, the executive director of Fair Haven Assisted Living Facility.
In September, the FDA and CDC signed off on the updated COVID-19 vaccine. Soon after, the vaccine became available in Alabama.
Davies said they have been able to distribute the vaccine to residents who want to take it and he credits that to their direct access to a long-term care pharmacy.
“Being as closely combined as we are, the communication is very good when we’re expecting a new vaccine,” Davies said.
John Matson, spokesperson for the Alabama Nursing Home Association, said every nursing home in Alabama is paired with a pharmacy.
“It’s just as simple as that nursing home placing a call or sending an email,” Matson said. “Nursing home residents have mobility issues. They can’t get out and go many places like your average Alabamians. So, it’s very important that services come to them.”
Davies told said Fair Haven has 400 residents, which is why they want to ensure they have access to the vaccine if they wish to take it.
“We get new strains out all the time and it’s important for us to stay on the front end of it,” Davies said.