This week, long-term care facilities are beginning to vaccinate residents and staff for COVID-19.
The effort began last week, when administrators at Missouri Slope, a long-term care facility in Bismarck, received their first shipment of vaccines.
Now, staff and residents were able to receive their first “jabs” of the Moderna vaccine.
Pastor Larry Giese was one of many staff members to get their first of two vaccine shots at Missouri Slope on Wednesday.
“It’s not only to protect them, but to protect myself,” Giese explained. “Just in case there is a outbreak again, like we had earlier this fall. That we could be protected and know that we could have a way to put a barrier you know between the virus and the people here.”
Like many people, Giese had questions when the FDA first approved the vaccination. “Primarily when I first heard about the vaccine, and I thought maybe it was a little bit soon. But after reading up and reading on the pieces that are out in the public now about the vaccine I feel it’s pretty safe,” Giese said.
As part of the first phase of the COVID-19 vaccine plan, long-term care facilities take top priority, right after front-line healthcare workers.
The pharmacy at Missouri Slope has been preparing for this very day for months.
“A lot of education! A lot of meetings. A lot of webinars,” said McCall Zenker, a pharmacist at Missouri Slop.e “We’ve met a number of times with the staff and gone over what will this day look like.”
Unlike many other facilities, Missouri Slope does not have to go through an outside pharmacy, since it has one on site. That makes it more convenient to administer the Moderna vaccine to residents and staff.
“We were able to schedule today right away. And then we’ve already scheduled the follow up clinic in 28 days,” Zenker said. “So on January 27th, we will be doing the exact same process to make sure everyone gets their second dose on that day. And that’s really all we know so far of what we’ll be given.”
Out 552 staff and residents, 270 will be vaccinated this first round.