One other note to add to the discussion below about why the backlog of unused vaccines is growing again: Back in October, the Department of Health and Human Services partnered with CVS and Walgreens to vaccinate residents and staff at nursing homes and long-term care facilities, and by and large, the two retail pharmacy giants have finished.
CVS says that as of 4 p.m. yesterday, the company has administered 100 percent of the first doses and 99 percent of the second doses in 7,822 “skilled nursing facilities” — and 98 percent of the first doses and 74 percent of the second doses in 37,958 “assisted living and other [long-term care] facilities.” (The two categories are classified differently depending upon the level of care residents require.) That adds up to just under 4 million doses injected into arms at these facilities so far.
Walgreens measures its vaccination progress differently, but as of Tuesday, the company had administered 2.65 million doses at 5,545 “skilled nursing facilities” and 20,437 “assisted living and other [long-term care] facilities.”
And while COVID-19 deaths in long-term care facilities haven’t been completely eliminated in recent weeks, they’ve declined considerably: “Weekly new deaths among nursing home residents have decreased by 66 percent since long-term care vaccination efforts started at the end of December, compared to a 61 percent increase in all other new deaths not among nursing home residents during the same period.”