Adult Foster Care Facilities Left Behind in Vaccine Process

Many who live in adult foster care homes, who are part of vaccination group 1a, have yet to receive their shots, despite the state moving forward to group 1b, according to Oregon Health Authority. Among the 1,400 adult foster homes in the state of Oregon, Corvallis is home to about 12. Nearby by Albany and Lebanon have four and two, respectively.   

Further up north in Tigard is Gina Roberts, who runs an adult foster home, A Place to Call Home. KGW8 spoke to her about these small facilities feeling left behind. Roberts has been trying to get her five residents and employees vaccinated since December and said that they feel “forgotten.”  

A Place to Call Home, like many other adult foster care homes, houses elderly people with mobility issues or who are on oxygen, which means they cannot go to a mass vaccination clinic.   

As a solution to this issue, Roberts told KGW8 that she scheduled to have the vaccine administered at her facility through CVS on Feb. 10. However, the pharmacy ended up cancelling the clinic due to the facility “not having a common area outside the home and/or oversight coordinator.” 

 Though Roberts told them that she is the coordinator, and that her facility does have a common area, CVS stopped replying. CVS told KGW8 that they are working with the Oregon Health Authority to reschedule the visit.   

According to the Oregon Department of Human Services, only 172 of the 1,400 adult foster facilities signed up to be vaccinated. Fred Steele, the state’s long-term care ombudsman, told KGW8 that Oregon did not adequately communicate with adult care homeowners about the vaccine process.   

On Tuesday, Feb. 16, the DHS Office of Aging and People with Disabilities said it will be contacting adult home care facilities soon to assist with getting residents and employees vaccinated. Roberts, however, is not hopeful.   

Spokesman for Gov. Kate Brown Charles Boyle said in a statement to KGW8:  

Governor Brown prioritized the Oregonians most vulnerable to COVID-19 in Phase 1a, including adult foster home residents, so they could be vaccinated as quickly as possible. Now that this registration issue for the federal pharmacy vaccination program has been identified, my understanding is that DHS and OHA are taking steps immediately to rectify the situation by working with local public health and community pharmacies to get residents vaccinated as soon as possible.  

By Cara Nixon