GREENBRAE (KPIX) — The Food and Drug Administration approved Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use authorization Friday evening.
The federal vaccination program will help those living in long-term care facilities.READ MORE: Near Hurricane Force Winds Howl At Mt. St. Helena; Temperatures Soar; Red Flag Wildfire Warning
There are nearly 10,000 CVS pharmacies across the country.
That’s one reason, federal officials tapped the chain — as well as Walgreens — to start vaccinating the elderly, a process that’s likely to start in a few days.
Rosellen Courtright, who resides at The Redwoods seniors facility in Mill Valley, has been waiting for months.
“I’m eager to get it. It’s wonderful because I didn’t realize it was so early and coming so soon,” Courtright said.
She’s one of more than 350 residents at the “The Redwoods: a Community of Seniors” who are at the top of the list to receive the vaccine. The Redwoods signed a contract with CVS in October to begin delivering doses as soon as they’re available.
“They did a great job with flu vaccinations. We worked with them in partnership and anything that has to do with our residents we’ll be on top of,” said Catherine Scott of The Redwoods.
“I think the confusing aspect to many people is that there are multiple avenues to get the vaccine and also there are multiple tiers,” said UCSF infectious disease specialist and professor of medicine Dr. Peter Chin-Hong.READ MORE: New Video Links San Francisco Mission Bay Beating Suspect To Second Asian American Assault
Long-term-care residents and staff account for more than 100,000 COVID-19 fatalities and 40 percent of COVID-19 deaths according to the non-profit Kaiser Family Foundation.
Since the onset of the pandemic, ten staff members at The Redwoods have tested positive but zero residents.
“Our residents are excited to get the vaccine,” said The Redwoods CEO Hunter Moore. “It’s going to provide a huge comfort level for the team members and residents as well as their families.”
There are more than three million people across the country living in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.
Rosellen is one step closer to reuniting with her loved ones in person.
“I’m trying to be very careful and usually try to self-isolate. I try to stay away six feet from people but that’s hard to do,” Courtright said.
There’s no cost to patients or to long-term care facilities since the vaccine distribution is through Medicare.MORE NEWS: Napa Valley Grape Growers Say Dry Year Survivable But Fear Prolonged Drought
CVS and Walgreens can bill for administering the shots.