Oklahoma Nursing Home Urges Staff, Residents To Get Vaccinated After Low Early Turnout


Wednesday, January 13th 2021, 10:44 pm
By: Barry Mangold


OKLAHOMA CITY -

The Oklahoma State Department of Health said as of Monday, three-quarters of the state’s nursing and long-term care facilities have schedules to receive the first of two vaccination shots. 

“I think there's light at the end of the tunnel,” said Katy Woodard, administrator of the Medical Park West Rehabilitation & Skilled Care. 

CVS and Walgreens are in charge of offering shots to every resident and staff member of Oklahoma care facilities as part of the first phase of vaccine distribution. The companies plan on visiting each facility three times, 21 days apart to allow each person to get the initial and booster shots. 

All visits to facilities are expected to be complete by the end of March, according to a spokesperson for CVS. 

Woodard said Walgreens conducted their first visit to Medical Park West last week. Although it was offered to everyone, she said 61% of residents got the shot along with 43% of staff. 

She said the facility is encouraging everyone to get vaccinated, but it is not required. 

“We would love to see more in the 70 percent range for everyone,” Woodard said. 

Medical Park West is one of 13 facilities operated by Stonegate. Woodard said the company is considering making the vaccine a requirement for staff. 

“As of right now, mandating the vaccine is not the path that our company is choosing to take just yet,” she said. 

Although not every facility has gotten the chance to administer the first shot yet, some residents and staff are hesitant, Woodard said. She said seeing others get the vaccine may persuade the rest. 

Those who got the first shot have not had any adverse reactions, she said. “So, I hope there’s a little proof in the pudding of that. That people will see that.” 

Across all Stonegate facilities, Woodard said less than half of staff have gotten the shots while about 75% of residents have received the first shot. Every Stonegate facility will have completed the first clinic by Jan. 15. 

Donna Harvell, a nurse at Medical Park West, said she got the first shot when the opportunity came. 

“As a nurse, I can’t stress enough to take the vaccine. It’s that important,” she said. 

“Think of others and the effects that it’s having on our health care system right now,” Woodard said.