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Published in the Orchard Park & West Seneca Sun, January 28, 2021

Allysa Olsen, administrator for the Fox Run at Orchard Park senior care facility, got a call with some good news last Friday. It was Walgreens, informing her that assisted living and independent living residents would be able to get their Covid-19 vaccines this past Tuesday. For assisted living residents, that was more than a week earlier than their original Feb. 4 clinic date. Independent living residents previously hadn’t even had a date scheduled on the calendar. “Obviously we said, ‘yes,’ because we want people vaccinated as soon as possible,” Olsen said. “We kind of worked all weekend to make sure we got everything that we needed to.”

It was a positive development for those residents, who had initially been left out of the first clinic date on Jan. 15. Those vaccines were only available to the facility’s skilled nursing residents. And even that date, Fox Run officials said, was later than they’d initially hoped. In the earliest days of the vaccination rollout, assisted living facilities were concerned that they were not on the same schedule as nursing homes, despite both being long-term care facilities housing vulnerable elderly populations. Nursing homes started to get their vaccination clinics scheduled through the federal Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program in late December. But in some states, like New York, assisted living facilities and other adult care
facilities couldn’t start getting vaccinated until Jan. 11.

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