As we reported earlier today in our news roundup, vaccines promised for independent living residents at Westminster Canterbury Richmond were abruptly canceled earlier this week by CVS. In a blog post yesterday, WCR said “we have no confidence that CVS will fulfill their obligation to us as CVS has not worked with us in good faith.”
Westminster Canterbury Richmond is a faith-based charitable organization founded by Episcopal and Presbyterian churches in 1971.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch has this report:
The news broke like a storm over the affluent retirement community, which lost 10 residents to COVID-19 during an outbreak after Thanksgiving that has subsided but left residents desperate for vaccination against the coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 6,000 Virginians, half of them in long-term care facilities.
“Our residents are furious and fearful,” said John Burns, president and CEO of Westminster Canterbury. “We know all too well how easy it is to have an outbreak and what the consequences are. This is devastating.”
CVS and Walgreens are part of a partnership with the federal government to administer the vaccine to residents and employees of long-term care facilities, including nursing homes and assisted living facilities, which are components of continuing care communities such as Westminster Canterbury.
Burns, at Westminster Canterbury, said his community had been assured by CVS that about 525 independent living residents, all 80 and older, would be vaccinated at clinics scheduled there on Feb. 15 and 16. Many residents chose not to pursue other options for vaccination in order to receive the vaccine through a clinic in their community, he said.
He said the Henrico Health Department, a local arm of the Virginia Department of Health, has told him independent living residents will have to join a line of about 15,000 elderly residents in the county who are waiting for the vaccine.
Many independent living residents are elderly in frail health and in a setting with less support would be in long-term care. The federal partnership with CVS and Walgreens is technically only for long-term care residents, but that rule had been applied flexibly. Many independent living residents in other facilities have received the vaccines through the program.