• 54°

Long-term care facilities prep for vaccine arrival

A long-awaited milestone was reached Friday, Dec. 11, when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved emergency use authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

Although many questions remain about how long the vaccine will be effective to ward off the virus and how quickly the general public will have access to vaccinations, one thing is clear — America’s vital first step will be to immunize health care workers and the nation’s vulnerable population of long-term care facility and nursing home residents.

Friday afternoon, representatives of Farmville’s long-term care facilities said they’re prepped and ready.

Farmville Health and Rehabilitation Administrator Greg Ashley said long-term care facilities have essentially been split up between two providers for administering coronavirus vaccines.

“Either they’ll be getting it from Walgreens or they’ll be getting it from CVS,” he said.

Ashley said Farmville Health and Rehab would be receiving its immunizations for staff and residents via CVS.

Greg Cole, president and CEO of The Woodland in Farmville, said Friday afternoon The Woodland had also contracted with CVS Pharmacy to administer the vaccine to residents and staff members.

According to Cole and Ashley, CVS will determine a date in the near future to come in and set up a vaccination clinic inside each of the centers to administer the vaccine.

“We are prepared to act as swiftly as possible once information is provided,” Cole said.

Ashley added the vaccine will have to be administered again after 21 days, as the Pfizer vaccine comes in two doses.

He added while some have been fearful of a vaccine, the center is able to provide plenty of informational material to staff and families to keep them in the loop and informed.

“We’re very much in discussion with employees and our families about vaccination,” Ashley said. “We’re highly encouraging them to do it, but we can’t say it’s mandatory because they have a right to refuse it if they want to.”

“I am proud of how the staff and residents have reacted to events surrounding this pandemic and very appreciative of the overwhelming support of the families and community businesses and residents,” Cole said. “Farmville truly is a great place to live.”

Monday Morning, Dec. 14, Piedmont Health District Director Dr. H. Robert Nash said 18 of the commonwealth’s major health care facilities and several commercial pharmacies would be receiving the bulk of the state’s initial 78,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine Monday and Tuesday.

Pharmacies are tasked with immunizing nursing home staff and residents, while larger facilities like hospitals will vaccinate Virginia’s health care workers.

As of press time, Centra had announced a press conference regarding vaccines would be held Tuesday, Dec. 15, at 11 a.m.