Senior residents and staff of a Bankers Hill skilled nursing facility received their first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday in what one of the facility’s leaders said was an important first step toward the return to normalcy.
“We’re super excited to have our first vaccination clinic at our skilled nursing facility today,” said Ellen Schmeding, Chief Operating Officer of St. Paul’s Senior Services.
San Diego County has four St. Paul’s senior facilities and as part of a partnership with CVS, its Bankers Hill location was the first to receive doses of the COVID-19 shot. That location was selected first among its other facilities because of the specific community it serves.
“These are older adults who are receiving skilled nursing care,” Schmeding explained to NBC 7. “Many of them are coming out of the hospital, having had operations and they’re here to recuperate and receive therapy. Others are long-term residents.”
“Those are the individuals that are most vulnerable, so we’re very happy that they’re number one,” she said.
Forty-five residents were slated to receive the vaccine on Wednesday while 95 staff members were also scheduled to get the shot. Their second dose of the vaccine will be administered on Jan. 20.
As part of the recommendations made by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, long-term care residents and faculty are among the first group to be eligible to receive Pfizer or Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine. So far, several medical centers in San Diego County and senior living facilities began to rollout the vaccine.
It’s a motion that Schmeding said is the road to getting back to normal.
“What it means to our residents is that they’re going to be able to see their families again,” Schmeding said. “We’ll be able to start back up activities. People will be able to socialize. There’ll be much more interaction and life will begin to return to what so much they enjoyed previously.”