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LA County Won’t Follow Federal COVID-19 Vaccination Plan for Nursing Homes

The Los Angeles County Health Department says its planning to provide the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to its nursing homes, and has begun training staff in those facilities on how to administer it.

That’s a deviation from the federal plan, which relies on CVS and Walgreens to administer the Pfizer vaccine at nursing facilities.

Once the Moderna vaccine gets its expected approval for emergency use, it will be sent directly to the county’s 385 nursing homes, health officials said, with the first doses expected to be received by next week.

County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said speed is a top priority. The Moderna vaccine, she said, is expected to arrive a full week sooner than the one from Pfizer, which requires ultra-cold storage.

She said the county will help understaffed nursing homes administer the shots.

“We have strike teams that will go out and make sure that, you know, in a matter of days, we’re vaccinating everybody.”

LA County’s nursing homes have been hit hard by the pandemic: More than 2,100 residents and staff have died of the virus.

— Jackie Fortiér, KPCC

Copyright 2020 KQED