Arizona long-term care facilities struggle as many wait for COVID-19 vaccine doses
- Hundreds of long-term care facilities in Maricopa County signed up for the COVID-19 vaccine to be brought to their doors and many have received it, but others continue waiting for the doses to be delivered. At the State Farm Stadium mass vaccination site, cars run through day and night. Peter Colten with Colten Adult Care says they’ve transported many of their residents to get shots from their small group homes located in neighborhoods throughout Scottsdale. "When you drive home at night, you probably pass care homes that you would never know are a care home," Colten says. There’s many small facilities in homes like Colten’s all across the Valley. He says these small facilities have run into a wall trying to get vaccinations for residents that are unable to travel. To tackle that problem, Maricopa County Health offered a program along with another federal pharmacy program to bring vaccinations to long-term care facilities, both large and small. In December, facilities started to receive shots. But some smaller places like Colten’s say they’re still waiting. "The more people I talk to I realize that, yeah, it’s a big issue," Colten said. According to a list provided by Maricopa County, it shows hundreds of vaccine requests from long-term care facilities still haven't been filled. "We get phone calls from our families weekly. 'When is this happening, when is this happening?' So now we’re taking steps because no one wants to wait anymore and we have no idea, no sense on when that phone call is going to come," Colten said. As they wait, he says every day gets harder on the residents with dementia who don’t understand the social isolation. "The residents are still questioning, 'Why aren’t you coming and seeing me as often as you used to? What is going on?' So I think the sooner we can get back to normality, the better it is for everyone," Colten said. Maricopa County Health said its working to get through the waitlist but to keep in mind that facilities continue to add their names every week. As long as there are no delivery delays, more than 400 facilities are expected to be vaccinated by the end of the month.