ATLANTA - It has been a grueling 10 months for Georgia long-term care facilities.
A.G. Rhodes CEO Deke Cateau says they have finally received confirmation CVS will be bringing the COVID-19 vaccine to all 3 of their Atlanta-area nursing home facilities.
"It is huge," Cateau says. "It seems like we can now see the end of the road. We see the other side of the rainbow, so that is good."
Cateau says they do not know the particulars of how the rollout will work, such as when the vaccine will arrive, or which company's vaccine they will receive.
He says CVS will bring the vaccine, supplies, and trained staffers to vaccinate both residents and A.G. Rhodes' staffers at onsite clinics.
"Now, it becomes a logistical issue of making sure that, whenever our number is picked, whenever that day is called, we can get as many staff and residents ready and present and available to receive the vaccine," Cateau says.
The majority of A.G. Rhodes' up to 418 residents and 500 staff are African-American, Cateau says, and he and his team have been fielding questions about whether the new vaccine is safe when it will arrive, and whether it will be required.
"We're telling them exactly what you are seeing on the news and in the data," he says. "So far, safety seems to be at a high level, so far there seems to be a high efficacy with it. So, we are taking the stance of educating our residents and our staff on why it is important. Myself and our leadership, if given the opportunity, would be taking the vaccine first, and hopefully, that will put some confidence in our staff."
And, when the first vaccine ships, Cateau says, he will feel "cautiously optimistic."
"I'm going to be optimistic that, yes, things are going to be looking better, but we don't want lethargy to make us stop some of the safety measures we have been taking," he says. " This is the last leg of the race, and we want our strongest runners on this last leg."
Cateau says they plan to follow the CDC and CMS vaccine guidelines, but, for now, they will not require staffers to get vaccinated.
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