Hospitals, nursing homes prepare for first doses of COVID-19 vaccine

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – After months of anticipation, the first COVID-19 vaccines are arriving at hospitals across the state this week. That includes medical facilities and some nursing homes.

One local nursing home awaiting the arrival of their requested doses is Ashley Gardens Assisted Living and Memory Care.

The facility has been working to make preparations for the vaccine delivery.

Executive Director of the home, Heather Roodt, says she’s been on the phone with CVS Pharmacy, who will be supplying the vaccines, and is still awaiting an exact date of delivery.

They’ve requested around 60 doses of the Pfizer vaccine. That’s enough for a majority of the staff and residents.

The facility is one of the first in the country to enroll in the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) national COVID-19 vaccine program.

“To try to get back to normalcy,” said Roodt.  “The sooner we can get people vaccinated and get the numbers down, the sooner we can return to normal lives.”

When the doses do arrive, the injections will be done with the help of CVS Pharmacy.

“CVS will be setting up a clinic in the building where they will be administering and we will be bringing the residents and the staff in order,” said Roodt.

Ashley Gardens is not the only place in town awaiting a vaccine delivery.

In a statement, Trident Health announced they’re making final preparations to begin vaccinating staff but have not received word on when their doses will arrive. The full statement from Trident Health is below:

At Trident Medical Center today the final touches are being put into place for our vaccination plan for our staff.  The vaccine will be taken to staff and their respective work areas and be administered through a walk-in clinic as well.  The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control has not notified Trident Health when it will receive its first shipment of the vaccine.  In the meantime, the hospital reports by the end of today nearly 50 patients will have received the COVID infusion therapy Bamlanivimab, which helps reduce the incidence of hospitalization due to COVID in high risk patients. At this time the therapy has a 96% success rate.

Trident Health

MUSC and Roper St. Francis plan to begin vaccinating their hospital staff as early as Tuesday.

Here is a statement from Roper St. Francis on their vaccination plan:

Roper St. Francis Healthcare plans to begin vaccinating teammates on Tuesday. We expect to have more teammates to vaccinate than vaccine doses the next few weeks. Because we will not have enough doses for all teammates, we’ve had to prioritize distribution of the vaccine in accordance with federal recommendations as well as criteria established by our Ethics Committee. Our list is prioritized based on level of exposure risk in the workplace and job responsibility. For example, teammates who are in direct care of known COVID positive patients, such as those who work in a COVID unit, as well as those in direct care of patients whose COVID status is unknown and who have no control over the way in which they see those patients, such as those in our emergency rooms and Express Cares, will be eligible to receive the vaccine first. We look forward to doing our part to end this pandemic by encouraging our teammates to receive this potentially life-saving vaccination.

Roper St. Francis

Healthcare workers and those in long-term care facilities are considered a priority in DHEC’s vaccine plan.

“People in these facilities are at the highest risk for spread and severe reaction,” said Roodt.

According to DHEC, the current, limited supply of the Pfizer vaccine will be securely distributed to 56 sites around the state by the end of the week.

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