Long Term Care Facility Staff, Residents To Be Among First To Get COVID-19 Vaccine

Thursday, December 3rd 2020, 9:14 pm


A COVID-19 vaccine could arrive in Oklahoma in a little more than a week and the first ones to get it will be healthcare workers along with people working and staying at long term care facilities. 

The Chief Operating Officer of 21 long term care facilities in Oklahoma said the vaccine is some of the first positive news they've received since March. Long term care facilities are receiving the vaccine through a federal partnership with pharmacies.

Kimberly Green with the Diakonos Group, which owns 21 long term care facilities in Oklahoma, said they got on the list as early as possible. She said they have their first vaccine clinic scheduled next week at one of their facilities.

"Partnering with Walgreens and CVS, to do our vaccination clinics," Green said.

Green said they've focused on educating their healthcare workers, residents, and families, especially those who may be skeptical of taking the vaccine.

"It's optional, there's not a mandate, however we are doing a lot of education and we see this as a light out of this dark tunnel," said Green.

Green describes this year as absolutely devastating for people at long term care facilities.

"For us, it has felt like we have been drowning for weeks. The sadness and desperation everyone is feeling is indescribable."

She said this vaccine gives her hope that one day their residents can see and hug their family members again.

"We need it, we need something to say this may help," Green said.

The state health department said the general public should have access to a vaccine by summer.

The state health commissioner said the vaccine will be paid for by the federal government and they're hoping to get as many doses as possible.


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