Jeffco’s most vulnerable begin receiving Covid vaccine

Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities start rolling out round one of inoculations

Bob Wooley
bwooley@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 1/4/21

With U.S. coronavirus deaths topping 68,000 for the month of December, Jeffco’s long-term care providers and the residents they take care of, deemed to be at the highest risk of mortality in the …

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Jeffco’s most vulnerable begin receiving Covid vaccine

Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities start rolling out round one of inoculations

Posted

With U.S. coronavirus deaths topping 68,000 for the month of December, Jeffco’s long-term care providers and the residents they take care of, deemed to be at the highest risk of mortality in the pandemic, are relieved to be getting long-awaited shots in the arm. Several facilities in Jeffco will be receiving their first round of vaccines during the week of Jan. 4.

Jessica Harmon, Executive Director, Rocky Mountain Assisted Living, said her residents are excited about the vaccines, and she’s hoping at least 95% of them will opt to get it. RMAL operates 13 facilities around the metro area. Their first vaccination clinic will take place Jan. 4. According to Harmon, there will be 3 opportunities to be vaccinated for each of their residences.

Harmon said with the age of the majority of their residents — having been at the forefront of previous vaccines for polio and smallpox, most have been accepting of the vaccine.

“It’s been a lot easier to get residents onboard than staff,” she said. “It’s been more of a challenge to get staff members to stop believing stuff they’re reading on Facebook and social media, and consult with their doctors about the safety of the vaccine.”

While she’s hopeful vaccines will help the community turn a corner and speed up the timeline for her residents to be able to receive in-person visits again, she thinks that could still be down the road a bit.

“Our anticipation is that there will have to be a lot more community vaccination before allowing visits,” Harmon said.

Lorna Lee, VP Marketing and Communications for MorningStar Senior Living, said she’s thrilled the vaccinations will be available to residents across the company’s 27 communities. MorningStar has three locations in Jeffco, with senior communities in Arvada, Wheat Ridge and a South Jeffco location with a Littleton address. 

A separate press release provided by Lee said MorningStar has enrolled in the CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Program, available through a partnership with Walgreens and CVS Pharmacies to provide vaccines for their residents.

“We are deeply grateful to our staff who have endured unprecedented demands and displayed unwavering dedication to our residents during this global public health crisis,”

said Alexis Martini, COO of MorningStar, in the release. “As the vaccination process is rolled out over a period of weeks, we ask for the continued patience of residents and their families. We are coming out of a supremely challenging time, both physically and emotionally, but real hope is on the horizon.” 

Governor Jared Polis has implemented a tiered plan for vaccination priority. Phase 1A vaccine recipients include frontline medical workers, first responders and nursing home residents. 

Phase 1B of the vaccination plan, to come perhaps in March or April, will allow essential members of the work force, notably now including teachers, to receive the vaccine. People aged 70 and older are also now eligible in Phase 1B

Phase 2 of the plan, estimated for this summer, opens up vaccinations for people ages 65-69, people ages 16 to 64 with preexisting conditions and people serving in local government. 

Phase 3 of Polis’ plan will allow the rest of the general public to receive a vaccination.

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