FOX 35 seeks answers to why some nursing homes still wait for COVID-19 vaccine

Many long-term care facilities across Florida had hoped to have had their residents and staff vaccinated by now.  For several of those facilities, it hasn’t happened.

Health Department officials in Orange County said it could continue to be a while, but they are working on it.

A month ago, Gracious Age Assisted Living in Sanford signed up to get the COVID-19 vaccines for its staff and residents, and still, they continue to wait.

"They have the vaccine ready, they have everything in place. I don’t understand why we haven’t gotten it yet," said resident Charlie Reyes.

RELATED: 'Confusion, frustration, and desperation': Assisted living facilities wait on COVID-19 vaccine

"Everything is still up in the air, we’re in a state of confusion, frustration, and desperation," said Gracious Age Assisted Living administrator Carviz Carlos.

They’re not alone. When FOX 35 News asked Dr. Raul Pino from the Health Department in Orange County about the delays, he agreed this was an issue.

"I agree. That should be one of the priorities to target because that’s where many of the deaths are occurring, but we will not be able to do all of them at once," said Dr. Pino.

He said there are a few things at play.

First, it takes long-term care facilities longer to prepare, because they need to get consent from residents or their loved ones. Second, the real focus is on vaccinating as many people possible as quickly as possible.

"How can we get the most people vaccinated the quickest? And that’s a drive-through POD. No other way you can do 2,000 people a day in this type of environment," said Dr. Pino.

The plan in Florida, Dr. Pino added, is to vaccinate healthcare workers, long-term care facilities, and folks in the 65-and-up all at the same time, not one at a time.

"It doesn’t mean that we have to finish with one category to go to the next category because then we will never finish."

Gracious Age in Sanford is hoping they won’t have to wait much longer.

"It’s absolutely essential that we have it."

CVS told FOX 35 News it started vaccinating nursing homes on December 21 in Florida. They plan to start on assisted living facilities Monday.

Tune in to FOX 35 Orlando for the latest Central Florida news.