Even getting over-the-phone or electronic consent in a matter of days could prove time-consuming.
Employees at SavaSeniorCare, one of the country’s largest nursing-home chains, don’t think they can start getting consent from residents and staff until they get the forms from CVS. As of Monday, they hadn’t received them, said Annaliese Impink, a SavaSeniorCare executive who is coordinating the vaccine rollout. (T.J. Crawford, a CVS spokesman, said the last batches of paperwork should arrive at nursing homes by Wednesday.)
In the meantime, Ms. Impink said, nursing home staff have been calling family members of residents who can’t make their own consent decisions to confirm contact information to quickly get in touch for approval of the vaccination.
Cissy Sanders, whose 71-year-old mother has a neurodegenerative disease and lives in a nursing home in Austin, said she has felt pressure to make a quick decision about vaccinating her mother.
The administrator of her mother’s nursing home sent her an email on Monday, she said, informing her that the vaccine process was moving swiftly and doses were likely to run out.
“I am not in any way an anti-vaxxer,” she said, “but an email like that is designed to hurry me up, and I want the time to get all the information I can.” Ms. Sanders said she is worried about how the vaccine might affect her mother. (The F.D.A. has said that the only adults who should not get Pfizer’s vaccine are those with histories of severe allergic reactions to ingredients in the vaccine.)
Officials at some facilities said they are optimistic about most of their residents agreeing to be vaccinated. Sunrise Senior Living, which operates 275 senior living communities in the United States, last week surveyed its residents and their family members about their willingness to get a Covid-19 vaccine. About 80 percent of respondents said they are definitely willing.
At Genesis, which has been building its own electronic system for getting consent from residents’ medical proxies, executives are cautiously hopeful about the start of vaccinations.
“It will be challenging; it will be complicated; it may get messy at times. But we’ve got to start quickly and lead the way,” Dr. Feifer said. “We’re going first. That’s a privilege and a responsibility to make sure we get this right.”