COVID-19 News

COVID-19 Vaccine Update

LAI had a call this afternoon with IDPH to discuss the LTC Pharmacy Partnership Program for distribution of the COVID-19 Vaccine.  Please see a summary of the information learned below:


  • All providers who registered with the LTC Pharmacy Partnership Program will be assigned to one of the following pharmacies:
    • Community Pharmacy
    • CVS
    • Walgreens
  • SNF/LTC providers enrolled in the Pharmacy Partnership Program will be contacted directly by their assigned pharmacy by the end of this week, if they have not been contacted already.
  • Assuming approval of the Pfizer vaccine on or near December 10, IDPH has allocated enough vaccine for the LTC Pharmacy Partnership Program to launch at the end of December, with vaccinations planned to start the week of December 28 for LTC/SNF residents and staff.  The LTC Partnership Program will only utilize the Pfizer vaccine. 
  • The pharmacies will schedule vaccination administration dates directly with their enrolled LTC/SNF providers and provide instructions on the process and steps that must be taken by the provider.
  • IDPH estimates that by the end of January 2021, all LTC/SNF residents and staff who want the vaccine should have been able to receive the first round.  There is a 21-day interval between round 1 and 2. 
  • IDPH will host a webinar for LTC/SNF providers on Wednesday, December 9 at Noon to provide more detail.  Please click here to register. 

Pharmacy Partners

The LTC Pharmacy Partnership Program includes 3 pharmacies in Iowa:  Community Pharmacy, CVS, and Walgreens.  Almost all of the LTC/SNF providers are split between CVS and Walgreens.  IDPH will share an updated spreadsheet with LAI regarding assignments.  Note the assignment spreadsheet has changed since November 12 because LTC providers who were previously unmatched or matched with a pharmacy that was not eligible were reassigned to one of the 3 eligible pharmacies in Iowa.  To be eligible as a pharmacy for the program, the pharmacy needed to have providers select them and achieve a minimum threshold of 975 staff and residents because the Pfizer vaccine comes in packages of 975. 

The assigned pharmacies will conduct education for their enrolled partners.  CVS held a webinar today which was also recorded, Walgreens has a recorded webinar, and Community Pharmacy is hosting a webinar tomorrow.  LTC/SNF providers will be contacted directly by their assigned pharmacy and sent an informational packet. 


The LTC Pharmacy Partnership Program has two parts.  Part A is LTC/SNF.  Part B is assisted living programs, the balance of life plan campuses, and section 202 affordable housing providers who enrolled with the program.  The state will implement Part A only in December, focusing on LTC/SNF residents and staff.  Part B will be implemented at a later date, likely in the first quarter of 2021, and follow a similar process as Part A.   

If the FDA approves the Pfizer vaccine on or near December 10 and vaccine distributions occur as planned, IDPH will authorize the start of the LTC Pharmacy Partnership Program after the second shipment of vaccines has been received the week of December 21.  The state must have at least 50 percent of the needed vaccines on hand and allocated to the LTC Pharmacy Partnership Program before launching in the state.  The calculation for 50 percent was based upon licensed SNF/LTC beds x 2 to accommodate for residents and staff.  According to this timeline, vaccine administration would begin the week of December 28 according to the schedule and logistics determined by the pharmacy partners. 

The first round of vaccine should take 3-4 weeks which will be followed by a second round.  There is a 21-day interval between doses. 

Challenges and Questions Still Working On

  • Vaccine for the Vaccinators – There is no clear direction from the CDC on this yet, but the pharmacies are obviously concerned about the safety of the vaccinators traveling into lots of different providers. 
  • Consent Forms – Until the FDA approves the EUA, consent forms are not available, and no one has seen the drafts yet.  This compresses the timeframe in which to educate and collect consent forms.  CVS, and likely the other 2 pharmacy partners, will ask providers to educate residents and families regarding the vaccine, collect consents, and ensure a form is completed for each participant as well as photocopies of both sides of insurance cards placed with each consent form. 
  • Staffing – The Pharmacy Partners are working through the logistics of available pharmacy staff and the number of assigned LTC providers to develop the schedule.  The Pharmacy Partners are responsible for end to end of the administration of the vaccine including storage of vaccine, PPE and supplies, administration of the vaccine, and all of the vaccine reporting requirements.

Other Odds and Ends

  • Medical Orders – A standing order for residents will be needed.  It is unclear how staff will be handled.  The state is considering options.  Each vaccine product does come with a sample standing order.
  • Sequencing – There will be more detail coming on the options for sequencing the vaccine to ensure everyone who wants the vaccine can obtain it and to be mindful of not necessarily vaccinating all staff on a single day. 
  • Staff Eligible for Vaccine – The Partnership Program has a wide definition of staff which could include contract staff per Dr. Ruth Link-Gelles from the CDC on the LeadingAge National Member Call today, December 7.  The vaccine should be prioritized for anyone who works with SNF/LTC residents. 
  • Pharmacy Partnership Program FAQ – The CDC has prepared an FAQ document about the program which may answer additional questions.

What Should You Start Doing?

Education will be key to achieving a high vaccination rate.  Please start talking about the vaccines and dispelling myths.  More guidance and information will be released as the vaccine receives EUA.  Please see the following resources from the CDC:

This video produced by Project Better Together in Iowa helps provide information about the vaccine as well:  Webinar: State of the Community – COVID-19 Vaccine | Iowa City Area - We're In This Together ( (90 minutes long).