WINTER PARK, Fla. – As the Pfizer vaccine continues to make its way around the United States, Floridians are getting a better idea of plans in place for vaccinating nursing home and long-term care facilities in the Sunshine State.
Kristen Knapp is the communications director for the Florida Healthcare Association that represents many nursing homes statewide.
“The vaccine gives us a sense of hope and gives us the opportunity to hopefully return to that place that our residents return to their home,” Knapp said.
She said there’s been a push to meet the governor’s goal to have everyone in those facilities who wants to be vaccinated given a dose by the end of the year.
“We are promoting high vaccination rates because, again, we know that this will give us an opportunity to return to a sense or normal,” Knapp said.
Jennifer Brown is the registered nurse administrator at Alabama Oaks Assisted Living in Winter Park.
“We’re still learning as all of this is still fresh and new,” Brown said.
She said it’s too soon to say if most of their residents want the vaccine or not because they’re still working to send information to families and the power of attorney to decide if the residents can’t decide on their own.
“I’ve heard from some families that they want it, and I’ve heard from other families that they absolutely don’t,” Brown said.
She said the residents and staff who choose to get the vaccine may get it as early as next week. They’re asking for a decision back by late next week.
“I know Walgreens and CVS aren’t quite ready to make their first visits, which is why the health department, from what I understand, is sending strike teams out,” Brown said.
Brown said Walgreens isn’t yet ready to do vaccines at their facilities, so for now, a team of nurses from the county’s health department will give out the vaccines sometime between next week or early next month.
“We’re hoping with the vaccine it’s really able to be effective and keep COVID out of our buildings,” Brown said.
Brown said that thankfully since the pandemic began, no resident has tested positive for COVID-19 at any of their three Winter Park properties.