By STEELE HAUGEN
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS
The first round of Coronavirus vaccinations is underway and soon some of the most vulnerable will get their turn.
Local retirement homes and long-term care facilities are next in line for what health officials believe is a turning point in the nation’s fight against COVID-19.
“I am going to be first in line,” laughs Jim Courtney Jr., a Touchmark resident at Mount Bachelor Village, in Bend.
Long-term care facilities are a priority in the immunization campaign managed by the Oregon Health Authority.
The plan calls for the pharmacy partners involved like Consonus Pharmacy, CVS and Walgreens to set up on-site vaccination clinics at the state’s long-term care facilities as well as smaller congregate care settings.
“They are going to administer in a couple different clinics, so that they can spread it out and they are bringing a team of nurses, so they can bring the vaccine to us, through CVS,” Angela Stewart, Director of Resident Services at Touchmark said.
Stewart says out of the home’s 350 residents, 90 assisted living and memory care patients will be the first to be vaccinated, along with all 200 staff.
Only licensed residents (assisted living and memory care) are eligible for the first round of available vaccines.
She also says the federal government ensures the vaccine will be available at no cost to residents and team members or will be billed through insurance or other federal government programs.
“We’re very excited about it. We feel privileged to be part of the first round, to be a part of that opportunity,” Stewart said. “We know it will lower our risk and we highly encourage our residents in being vaccinated.”
Courtney, 90, says he is most excited about getting a visit from his grandkids again, once he’s fully vaccinated.
“It couldn’t be a happier moment, the first thing they do is run up and give me a hug, the next thing they do is go in my room and look for my chocolate candy,” Courtney said.