ALBANY — An upstate nursing home that was expecting all residents and some staff to get the coronavirus vaccine on Monday says many had to go without — because CVS had “lost” doses due to “temperature control issues.”
Orange County’s Valley View Center nursing home had penciled in Monday, Jan. 4 as its first scheduled date for the federally-run vaccine program administered by CVS pharmacists. The facility planned to have approximately 257 residents and a portion of their 250 full and part time healthcare workers get the Pfizer shot.
But when half a dozen pharmacists showed up, Laurence LaDue, the county’s licensed nursing home administrator, was told not everyone would receive a shot.
“The pharmacist running it told me they had lost some doses of the vaccine in one of their storage facilities due to temperature control issues. They did attempt to get additional vaccine doses that couldn’t get them,” LaDue told The Post Tuesday.
“Obviously, I was a little disappointed. The plan for our first vaccine clinic was to administer it to all the residents in-house and a portion of the staff and obviously, we weren’t able to do that.”
The Pfizer vaccine, first approved on emergency basis by the federal government and the shot nursing home residents and staff are signed up to get for now, requires ultra cold storage to preserve the drug.
LaDue said he wasn’t told “the specific amount” of how many shots were lost due to the error, and the staff was apologetic.
“They administered every dose they had on site which was 132 residents and 56 staff members. We were hoping to get all the residents done and a portion of the staff,” he added.
“Despite not getting the number of doses that we wanted, it was a magnificent day for Valley View and we were extremely happy to have some of our residents and staff receive the vaccine,” he said.
“Of course we’ve lost a tremendous number of people. There were staff members literally crying.”
Some residents and staff however, were skeptical about receiving the drug.
“A small minority of the residents declined, I think there’s more of the staff that are skeptical because it’s a new vaccine. But we had no severe reactions among residents and staff,” LaDue told The Post.
Right now, 26 Valley View residents have been diagnosed as positive for the potentially deadly bug.
The facility has lost 50 residents to COVID-19 since the pandemic’s start, as of state Health Department data as of Jan. 4.
Valley View has its next scheduled date to get the remaining staff members vaccinated by CVS for Jan. 18.
Meanwhile, Gov. Cuomo announced Monday that the state will step in and help “expedite” the federally-administered vaccination program in nursing homes, complaining the process is not moving fast enough, as within three weeks, just 288 out of 611 registered long-term care facilities had received their first doses.
The governor said he’s setting a goal to have all first-time doses for residents and staff in all 611 facilities completed by the end of next week.
Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus argued the state should grant the counties and local governments the ability help administer the vaccines, as leaving it up to the hospitals and the federal government is slowing down the process.
“Give us the flexibility — the counties — to vaccinate more people including nursing homes which are probably 75 percent of the deaths that we’re reporting now,” he said during a Zoom press conference Tuesday with other county executives.
The elderly have been among the hardest hit by the pandemic.
Over 7,000 nursing home residents have died in New York after contracting the deadly bug since March — but critics argue it could be much higher as the state has refused to release the number of residents who died of the disease in hospitals.
CVS did not immediately return a request for comment.
Credit: NYPOSTNewzandar News