OCEAN CITY, NJ — United Methodist Communities at the Shores in Ocean City began offering COVID-19 vaccines to their residents and healthcare staff last week.
The vaccines were provided by CVS, whose staff in addition to Walgreens, is traveling to all 291 nursing homes in the state to give out the injections on site, using the Pfizer vaccine.
“UMC is pleased that New Jersey has made the right decision and included long-term care residents and staff as a top priority for vaccination in our state,” Jan Carrato, a spokesperson for The Shores, told Patch. “While the vaccine is not a panacea, it is an important step towards making our community healthy and safe."
On Dec. 30, 24 residents and 44 staff in skilled nursing received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and will receive the second shot on Jan. 20. Phase 1A of the state's COVID-19 vaccine rollout specifically included residents and associates in skilled nursing, according to Carrato.
Assisted living residents and staff will have the opportunity to get their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine when CVS Pharmacy staff return to the nursing home on Jan. 20.
Carrato said The Shores is aiming to vaccinate 75 percent of their residents and staff—287 people in the nursing home—against the coronavirus.
The arrival of the vaccine comes at a time when long-term care facilities and nursing homes across the state reported a spike in coronavirus cases and fatalities. The New Jersey Department of Health released data Monday that show New Jersey had a 132 percent increase in cases associated with outbreaks since Nov. 16 and a 62 percent increase in deaths.
According to data provided by each nursing home in the state, The Shores reported 97 positive cases and 13 fatalities among residents and staff since the beginning of the pandemic.
Carrato said the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine is a “ray of hope for many of our residents.”
After receiving the vaccine, residents and staff answered comment cards, which The Shores' staff displayed on a bulletin board. Among these, Carrato said a few cards read, “Grateful and hopeful,” “Blessed” and “Better days are coming.”
The Shores' Healthcare Administrator, Georgine Tracy, has also seen a boost in morale among the residents and staff she works with since the COVID-19 vaccine arrived.
“The Shores’ staff have exhibited diligence, compassion, and skill. They welcome the long-anticipated COVID-19 vaccine and consider it a vital tool toward keeping everyone safe and healthy," Tracy said. "The vaccine represents hope for the future and has boasted our associates’ spirits."
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