Coronavirus vaccine approval brings hope to North Alabama nursing homes

Nursing homes are preparing to get the coronavirus vaccine.

Posted: Dec 10, 2020 6:07 PM
Updated: Dec 10, 2020 8:33 PM

The state says health care workers and nursing homes will be the first to get the coronavirus vaccine.

Mitchell Hollingsworth's nursing home director, Brian Scheri, said the vaccine means hope not just for residents but for his staff members, too, who have been on the frontline of this virus for 9 months now.

"I was encouraged that long-term care facilities and health care workers are being looked at as a priority when the vaccine is finalized and delivered," said Scheri.

For the first time, Scheri can see the light at the end of the tunnel and finally a vaccine for the 220 residents they care for and staff.

"I think everybody is on the same page that the elderly are without question the ones that can succumb to this more than most," said Scheri.

Scheri said they've been planning for over a month to get the vaccine. He shared some details on what that planning has entailed.

"Having to sign agreements and partnerships with which vendors we're going to use and how it's going to be rolled out and that sort of stuff," said Scheri.

Scheri said this vaccine isn't just a signal of hope. It means normalcy.

"Getting back to families being able to hug and love on their loved ones. You can do all the direct patients in the world, prescribe and deliver the medications and give the therapeutic levels of care, but there is still something missing," said Scheri.

Scheri said no nursing home, including his, has been spared from the virus, but residents' families and staff members have been amazing through this unimaginable time.

John Matson, spokesperson for the Alabama Nursing Home Association, said nursing homes could get the vaccine after Christmas at the soonest date. He said there is a national pharmacy partnership with CVS, Walgreens and other major pharmacies that will help give the vaccines to nursing homes and hospitals.

"Those pharmacies are working with the nursing homes to take care of the necessary paperwork and give them an idea of what their vaccine needs will be. We're told these vaccines could start arriving to the pharmacies by the third week in December," said Matson.

Matson said news of Pfizer's vaccine getting approval Thursday afternoon is welcome news to the 231 nursing homes in the state.

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