As debate persists about who should be included in each phase of South Jersey’s COVID vaccine rollout, residents and staff members in long-term facilities have been a priority.
Facilities in Voorhees have begun the process in their own ways.
Brookdale Evesham, an assisted-living facility, administered its first round of doses on Jan. 22 at its Voorhees location. The facility will host two additional vaccination dates on Feb. 12 and March 5, for residents, staff members and select township employees, according to its officials.
Janine Payeur-Narine, an infection prevention and control nurse with Brookdale Evesham, said the facility was able to receive Pfizer vaccines through its partnership with provider CVS Health, of the federal Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program.
The nurse plays a role in overseeing the coordination between the 12 branches Brookdale has in the state and educating residents and staff members about the vaccine.
“We’re overseeing the coordination and education of the staff and its residents in order to increase participation,” Payeur-Narine explained. “We really took it on the road a few weeks before all of the clinics started, across our communities, to talk about the vaccine and dispel some of the misinformation that’s been out there.”
She said approximately 95 percent of residents and about 50 to 55 percent of staff members across the state have opted to receive the vaccine.
“We have seen some pretty unbelievable participation thus far, but we want to continue to push,” Payeur-Narine said. “The state wants to see 70 percent participation from the long-term care industry as a whole, so we want to get back out there for those people that weren’t too sure and wanted to wait and see after those first clinics.
“We’re here to answer their questions and find out what’s going on to help them make that informed health care decision.”
Brookdale Evesham operates with approximately 130 residents, according to Catie Shull, its infectious disease control nurse. The facility was the 10th of 12 Brookdale locations in the state so far to host a vaccination clinic, according to Payeur-Narine.
Lion’s Gate, another Voorhees assisted-living facility, has also started the vaccination process for its residents and staff. According to Director of Marketing Christine Fares-Walley, it established Sunday, Jan. 10; Sunday, Jan. 31; and Sunday, Feb. 21 as dates for administering Pfizer vaccines.
“Our plan is to make all those dates available to those within Lion’s Gate that wanted to receive the vaccine,” she said.
Vaccines were administered to approximately 90 percent of residents in their rooms on the first date, and Lion’s Gate will vaccinate staffers and residents who may have been on the fence about getting the shot.
Fares-Walley said there was more of a willingness to receive the vaccine among residents than staff members, so Lion’s Gate conducted an education campaign for the latter group leading up the first vaccination date.