Pritzker’s Failure to Quickly Vaccinate Seniors in Nursing Homes Results in Illinois Being One of the Slowest in the Nation

Pritzker’s Failure to Quickly Vaccinate Seniors in Nursing Homes Results in Illinois Being One of the Slowest in the Nation

Every day that Governor Pritzker doesn’t act to remedy this situation is another day our most vulnerable population is left at risk and waiting for a vaccine.

January 26, 2021

Governor Pritzker and his administration are failing our most vulnerable population through their inability to facilitate a quick vaccination rollout to seniors residing in long-term care facilities. Instead of attempting to remedy the situation, Pritzker and his administration continue their disturbing practice of shifting blame on to others for their own failures and in this case, it’s pharmacies. 

It is well known that seniors, especially those residing in long-term care facilities, were the most vulnerable population throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. In Illinois, seniors in long-term care facilities make up 49% of the total deaths. Despite the facts, according to a new report from the Chicago Tribune, an estimated 360,000 people qualify for vaccines because of ties to long-term care but only roughly 110,000 shots had been administered in Illinois. While less than half of long-term care patients have received shots, this could be a direct result of the almost month-long delay in launching the vaccine rollout in Illinois.

From the Chicago TribuneBut for nonskilled nursing facilities in the rest of the state, there are many delays. Walgreens reported it has conducted 170 clinics at the 463 facilities it’s been assigned, with 118 more visits set in the next week.CVS reported it had visited only 17 of the 516 facilities it’s responsible for, and has plans to visit 88 more in the coming week.

 Those rates are among the worst in the country.

According to both firms, they started vaccinating nonskilled nursing facilities in Chicago on Dec. 28, about the time theystarted in much of the rest of the country. But CVS and Walgreens didn’t launch the same program for the rest of Illinois until weeks later. Both list their formal “activation” date as Monday, Jan. 25. Across the entire country, CVS’ activation date was that late in only two other places: in Wisconsin and in Philadelphia, which has its own jurisdiction. For Walgreens, only Wisconsin was that delayed.

In response to Illinois being at the bottom alongside Wisconsin and the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the Pritzker administration would rather shift blame than get to the bottom of the delay.

From the Chicago TribuneCVS said the timing was set by each jurisdiction’s health officials.

“States and jurisdictions established their timelines with the CDC and made them clear at the beginning of the program, and many states prioritized facilities with patients requiring medical care. We are following the state’s program as outlined, which has been successful to date,” according to a CVS statement. 

However, the Illinois Department of Public Health said pharmacies set the timing, not the state.

Every day that Governor Pritzker and his administration do not act to remedy this situation is another day our most vulnerable population is left at risk and waiting for a vaccine. The lack of urgency being displayed by this Governor and his administration is troubling and beyond unacceptable.

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