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Health & Medicine

CNY Senior Care Facilities Ready to Administer COVID Vaccine to Residents and Staff

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The Pfizer/BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine is arriving at senior care facilities across Central New York, and Loretto is among those making preparations to inoculate residents and staff.  Chief Marketing Officer Julie Sheedy says they’re anticipating a 90 percent consent rate from residents or their family members in time for the Wednesday vaccination clinic. 

Most staff are on board, too, but she says there are plenty of questions.

"This is so unkown, it's new for people.  It's different.  We have questions about side effects.  We have questions about allergies.  We're leveraging the CDC and the Pfizer information; it's very thorough, it's easy to understand.  We feel very good about the outcomes of the clinical trials, and we're very supportive of our residents and staff getting this vaccine."

Sheedy says their pharmacy partner is securing and handling the vaccine, and following the process in place for their annual flu clinics.  While there’s excitement and optimism, she says the latest surge in infections has been challenging.

"No matter how good your infection control practices are, when the community spread is this extensive, it puts everyone at risk.   Even with this vaccine, it's not going to change our situtation overnight; it's going to take some time.  It's critical that people don't relax yet."    

Which means wearing masks and physical distancing.  Loretto has been closed to visitors since before Thanksgiving, but Sheedy says staff are trying to keep residents in touch with family via video apps or telephone.