First doses of coronavirus vaccine arrive at Minnesota nursing homes
December 29, 2020
Hundreds of residents and staff of Minnesota nursing homes began to get vaccinated Monday for the novel coronavirus - a critical turning point in the state's battle to protect people who are particularly vulnerable to the deadly disease.
Early Monday, teams of pharmacy workers with CVS Health and Walgreens fanned out to dozens of nursing homes across the state, which have been especially hard hit by the virus, and began administering initial shots of the Moderna vaccine. The plan is to vaccinate everyone who lives or works at Minnesota's 2,100 long-term care facilities, including assisted-living homes, by the end of January, dependent on vaccine supply, state officials said.
Elderly residents and employees of senior care facilities have been given priority for the vaccines because they have been shown to be especially at risk of being exposed to the virus. Large nursing homes, in particular, have been the sites of fast-moving outbreaks that have sickened or killed hundreds of seniors and forced many facilities to impose strict lockdowns that kept residents from seeing loved ones for months at a time, exacerbating health problems. So far, 65% of the 5,160 deaths from COVID-19 in Minnesota have occurred in long-term care communities, state records show.