BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — COVID-19 vaccination is underway in Western New York. Elderwood's staff and residents could begin receiving the vaccine as soon as next week, according to Elderwood's VP of Marketing and Communications Chuck Hayes.
“It’s a little bit of a sigh of a relief, but we know it’s just the beginning,” said Hayes.
Residents and staff of long term care facilities are among the first individuals slated to receive COVID-19 vaccines, along with healthcare workers with high exposure to COVID-19 patients. Elderwood is currently collecting resident's consent forms.
Pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens will help manage the process and administer the vaccine for Elderwood's 15 facilities in Western New York per the Pharmacy Partnership for Long-term Care (LTC) Program, a national program.
“This takes the work load off of our clinical staff, who are busy caring for our residents throughout the pandemic,” Hayes said.
Hayes said Elderwood has nearly 1,400 residents and more than 2,000 staff across Western New York. The staff will be vaccinated in cohorts.
“So that if anyone is feeling a bit of a side effect and doesn’t feel well enough to come in to work the next day, then we won’t be short staffed,” Hayes said.
Two weeks ago, Governor Andrew Cuomo said the initial Pfizer batch and expected Moderna batch should cover the state's entire nursing home population. The vaccine is not mandatory for Elderwood residents or staff.
“There is a great deal of optimism, and a great deal of excitement, both among our staff, among our residents, and among the families who are longing to get back in touch with their loved ones,” Hayes said
There is no set date for Elderwood's first vaccination. Each individual facility will coordinate the dates with the pharmacies.