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So far, long-term care staff more hesitant about COVID-19 vaccine than residents


Vaccinations are underway at Michigan’s long-term care facilities. Data from CVS show the pharmacy had distributed over 20,000 doses as of Friday.

Walgreens doesn’t provide the same state-level data, but says it expects to administer all first doses for those residents and staff who want them by January 25.

Administrators in Michigan facilities say residents have been more eager to get their vaccines than staff. That goes for their family members as well, many of whom have to sign consent forms for their loved ones.

Lenawee Medical Care Facility administrator Erin Tuckey says a majority of the facility’s 81 residents received a shot in the first clinic held with Walgreens last week. Most of them needed a family member or guardian to give consent for them.

“That’s what a lot of the family members are telling us, you know, I’ll do anything I can to be able to come back to visit,” she said.

She says staff members have been more hesistant, with about a third of 210 getting a shot during last week’s clinic.

But consistent and digestible messaging has changed some minds. More staff signed up to get their shot after Tuckey started playing an informational video about the vaccine on a loop in the break room.

The Calhoun County Medical Care Facility held its first clinic last week too, with CVS.

Administrator Donna Mahoney says she was “shocked” by how many family members signed consent forms for loved ones living in the facility.

“I think, too, because it’s been so long, since they’ve been able to hold, touch, visit their loved ones, that they were like, 'yes, we want it,'” she said.

Some of those family members, she said, are people who have routinely declined flu shots for their loved ones in the past.

Will Callan, a reporter for Michigan Radio, hails from the Bay Area, where he lived in Oakland and San Francisco and reported for local newspapers and magazines. He enjoys a long swim in chilly water (preferably followed by a sauna) and getting to know new cities. That's one reason he's excited to be in Ann Arbor, which he can already tell has just the right combo of urban grit and natural beauty to make him feel at home.
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