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Indiana Long-Term Care Workers Prepare for COVID Vaccine

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Thursday, December 3, 2020   

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- As they tend to patients amid a surge in COVID cases, many workers at Indiana's long-term care facilities are anxiously awaiting the distribution of a vaccine.

A Centers for Disease Control (CDC) panel this week said health-care workers and long-term care residents should be part of the Phase 1a distribution of a vaccine.

Indiana's governor and state health commissioner echoed the sentiment.

Zach Cattell, president of the Indiana Health Care Association, applauded the idea, and explained they're preparing for the first shipments of the vaccine.

"Even coming from the CDC, it's admitted that this is going to be pretty bumpy," Cattell cautioned. "But I'm happy also to report that it's been many, many weeks now of conversation with our public officials at the health department preparing for these next couple weeks to come. So we're expecting hopefully a smooth rollout as possible."

Pfizer and Moderna have applied for an Emergency Use Authorization from the Food and Drug Administration for their vaccines.

State leaders anticipate having enough vaccine to cover frontline health care workers and long-term care residents by years end.

Cattell noted as a COVID vaccine becomes a reality, there are more and more health-care workers showing an interest in taking it. He added they want what's best for their patients and their families.

"We know that family members miss their loved ones and that this has been an incredibly trying time," Cattell remarked. "But our long-term care staff are doing everything they can to increase visitation, to use essential family caregiving programs, to increase virtual visitation and balance the management of this pandemic and all that it's brought."

Despite a positive decrease in new COVID cases among residents since last week, the state's Long-Term Care Data Dashboard on Wednesday showed an overall prolonged increase in new cases since mid-August.

The Indiana Health Care Association is asking long-term care facilities to strengthen infection prevention and control protocols.


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