The federal government announced in mid-October that COVID-19 vaccinations—whenever they become available—will be administered free of charge to Americans living or working in long-term care facilities, which include nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

Bannister Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing has the details on this plan along with the latest on where vaccine trials stand.

Free Vaccines Through Large Pharmacies

The government announced that these tests will be done in conjunction with the country’s two largest pharmacy chains: CVS and Walgreens, and they pledged that there will be no out-of-pocket costs to residents or staff.

As part of the release by the government and both pharmacy chains, it’s expected that long-term care facility residents “may be part of the prioritized groups for initial COVID-19 vaccination efforts until there are enough doses available for every American who wishes to be vaccinated.” 

Where do We Stand on a Vaccine?

Pfizer, along with partner BioNTech, seems likely to be the first company to roll out a COVID-19 vaccine, as they are planning to do so in late November. They are hopeful to have data from the final phase of their trial by the end of October. Several other vaccine candidate trials have been paused while potential complications are investigated.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will monitor those who were given trial vaccines for a period of two months before they will authorize one to be administered to the public. 

If the Pfizer vaccine doesn’t run into any roadblocks, the FDA could issue an emergency use authorization (EUA) in the final weeks of 2020, which would clear the way for high-priority and high-risk individuals to be vaccinated. 

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