Pharmacies begin giving COVID-19 vaccines to nursing home residents

Grace+Knoll%2C+95%2C+a+long-term+care+resident+at+St.+Luke%E2%80%99s+Surrey+Place%2C+was+the+first+resident+at+the+skilled+nursing+facility+to+roll+up+her+sleeves+and+receive+the+Moderna+COVID-19+vaccine+on+Monday%2C+Dec.+28%2C+2020.

Grace Knoll, 95, a long-term care resident at St. Luke’s Surrey Place, was the first resident at the skilled nursing facility to roll up her sleeves and receive the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine on Monday, Dec. 28, 2020.

Pharmacies have begun giving COVID-19 vaccines to local nursing home residents, who along with frontline health-care workers are first in line for the immunization that could end the pandemic.

Hospitals are vaccinating their own health care workers under the plans developed by federal officials, but pharmacies are taking the lead on vaccinating residents and staff of long-term care facilities such as nursing homes and assisted-living centers.

CVS Health pharmacists and staff began vaccinating St. Luke’s Surrey Place residents and employees in West County Monday.

Grace Knoll, 95, a long-term care resident at St. Luke’s Surrey Place, was the first resident at the skilled nursing facility to roll up her sleeves and receive the Moderna vaccine Monday.

Although the numbers of vaccines promised by the federal government have gone down, St. Louis County Executive Sam Page said Wednesday that the county’s nursing homes and pharmacy chains are ready to go.

“We are ready here in St. Louis County to administer the vaccine, the hospitals are ready to go, I know our pharmacy chains are prepared and have started administering the vaccine to our skilled nursing facilities,” Page said. “We just need to get the vaccine moving quicker down those logistical pathways and down those shipment pathways.”

Located in west St. Louis county, St. Luke’s Surrey Place offers 24-hour skilled nursing and medical care in its long-term care unit; short-term rehabilitation with on-staff physical, occupational and speech therapists; and specialized care in a secure dementia care unit.