TARPON SPRINGS, Fla. (WFLA) – As the COVID-19 vaccine rollout continues in Tampa Bay, some assisted living facilities said their residents and families feel forgotten.
Walton Place Nursing Home Director John Ross said there are about 100 residents and 50 staff members at that facility, including memory care and an ALF. Ross said they have been trying to get the vaccine for a month with no luck.
“It’s concerning because it almost feels like the ALF’s are being lost in the shuffle,” said Barbra Sutton whose 71-year-old brother lives at Walton Place. “Because they can not leave this facility to get vaccinated, whereas people that have cars and are mobile can get vaccinated,” Sutton added.
Ross said they signed up for a CVS vaccine clinic in December but haven’t heard a word.
“Unfortunately we were told we couldn’t communicate with CVS, ask questions email, anything. Had to wait until our spot was called,” Ross said.
So, with Ross’s blessing, Sutton reached out to two county commissioners, who reached out to the State Dept. of Health.
Ross said it worked, and Wednesday night he received a call from the Dept. of Health.
“We learned CVS won’t be doing it any longer and a new company called CDR Health will be the provider, and we haven’t heard anything from CDR,” Ross said.
8 On Your Side called the State Department of Health to confirm the information and learn more details.
The Division of Emergency Management sent us an email confirming the change.
They sent a letter from the Agency for Health Care Administration that said in accordance with the governor’s efforts, CDR Health will supplement and accelerate vaccinations for ALF’s in addition to CVS and Walgreens.
Sutton said a Dept. of Health representative even called her.
“They said to me there’s hope it’s coming out, it’s in Hillsborough county now but next week they’ll start moving into Pinellas county,” Sutton said.
8 On Your Side asked the DOH if Hillsborough County is taking precedence over Pinellas County, and if so, why as well when can Pinellas’s ALF’s expect the vaccine?
As of this publication hours later, no response.
Through it all, Sutton is staying positive.
“I have full confidence this will get resolved, my frustration is I didn’t want to be left untouched,” Sutton said.
The letter says any ALF’s not scheduled for initial vaccines by next Saturday, Jan. 23, will be contacted by CDR Health.
It also said any ALF’s who already received their first dose with CVS or Walgreens will stay with those pharmacies for the second dose.