Senior Living Communities Prepare For First Phase Of COVID Vaccine Plan

Also included in Phase 1 of the state’s plan will be senior living communities. Cindy Longfellow at Juniper communities, which operates five facilities in the Denver metro area, says being included early on brings new hope.

On Wednesday, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis released the state’s three phase plan for distributing a COVID-19 vaccine once it is approved. In the first phase, which could begin as early as next week, frontline health care workers and those working and living in senior living communities will be given priority.

Both of those groups are now preparing for how to administer the vaccine to best protect their employees.

“The obvious selection is going to be those caregivers who work directly with patients who are infected,” Jason Blauwet said. He is the Director of Pharmacy at Presbyterian St. Luke’s Medical Center.

Blauwet’s job now includes handling of the vaccine, everything from its arrival and storage to getting it to employees and doing so with little information to help in planning.

“What we know now is that our first shipment will be extremely small, and we hope more will be coming right after so we can immunize as many people as possible,” he said.

For months their residents have been forced to isolate for much of the pandemic.

“We see the vaccine as a way to bring normalcy back into our communities and vitality and connections and engagement,” she said.

Distribution in their facility will be run by a partnering pharmacy, in their case CVS. They will store and administer the vaccine.

“We will have provided them with a roster of staff and residents in the order they are to be vaccinated,” Longfellow said.

The order of that roster will be decided with guidance form the CDC, and they understand they may not have enough to immunize everyone, but right now she says they’ll take what they can get.

“I feel like we are in the last mile, but it’s a mile that’s going to take a couple of months.”

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