GERRY – A “huge push” to vaccinate residents and employees against COVID-19 is underway at one of the area’s largest nursing home chains.
Lisa Haglund, President and CEO of Heritage Ministries, says by the end of the week around 300 residents and 200 employees at the company’s skilled nursing facilities in Chautauqua County will be vaccinated.
Haglund says the vaccine is not mandatory, but many residents are opting to take it with hopes they can eventually see their families in-person again.
“So many of them just want to see their families,” said Haglund. “Anything that will give them a glimmer of hope and protection.”
Heritage is working with CVS Pharmacy and the Chautauqua County Health Department to facilitate the process. Vaccine technicians visit Heritage facilities to administer the first dose, with each resident monitored for 15 minutes after the shot.
Haglund says currently they are administering Pfizer’s vaccine, but do expect to receive Moderna’s in the future. Once the process is complete, Haglund is hopeful some visiting restrictions could be lifted.
“While we are hopeful and we see progress quicker than we expected, I think we still have a road to go,” said Haglund. “Until everyone gets vaccinated and have both rounds, residents, employees and family members, I think we will see New York State keep those restrictions.”
Assisted and independent living facilities are expected to begin vaccination once they are prioritized by state health leaders.