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story.lead_photo.caption FILE: St. Mary's Hospital Clinical Pharmacy Manager Alloch Burton and Pharmacy Buyer Lauren Redel store the hospital's first batch of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into the pharmacy's deep freeze Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020. Photo by Liv Paggiarino / News Tribune.

Area nursing homes expect their first shipments of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to arrive in late December, said Craig Workman, a spokesman for several area nursing facilities, including three operated by StoneBridge Senior Living.

"We don't know exactly how much is going to be in the shipments," Workman said. "If there is not enough vaccine in the first shipment to provide the first dose to all residents and staff wishing to be vaccinated, we will provide vaccines to all residents first."

The company operates three facilities in Jefferson City — StoneBridge Adams Street, StoneBridge Villa Marie and StoneBridge Oak Tree.

Who receives the vaccine first at StoneBridge facilities will be based on age (oldest first) and whether they have had COVID-19 in the past. Residents who have had COVID-19 will receive the vaccine.

After residents have received the first of two doses, the nursing facilities will move to vaccinating staff members, using the same criteria.

"We don't know exactly how much is going to be in the shipments," Workman said.

The process will continue as expected weekly shipments of the vaccine arrive over the coming months until all residents and staff have received both doses.

Staff from CVS Pharmacies are to provide the vaccinations at the StoneBridge nursing facilities, Workman said.

Long-term care facility residents and staff are included with front-line health care workers in Missouri's first phase of COVID-19 vaccine distribution.

Residents and staff at Primrose Retirement Community of Jefferson City are eagerly anticipating the vaccine's arrival, Executive Director Sandy Kliegel said.

"We have not gotten them yet. When we do, we're going to feel some extreme relief," Kliegel said. "Our residents are anticipating the vaccine as well and hoping that will lead to some future normalities for them and their families."

It looks like the vaccine will arrive at Primrose around the end of December or beginning of January, she said. Walgreens Pharmacies will administer the vaccine for the facility.

"It's a light at the end of the tunnel. And it's scary for some as well," Kliegel said.

It normally takes years for a vaccine to be developed. So, Kliegel explained, some staff and residents have anxiety about how well the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been tested.

Workman, who also represents JMS Senior Living (owner of Jefferson City Manor), said JMS offered a statement from the organization.

The statement said JMS Senior Living is optimistic the vaccine, which is expected to arrive in the coming weeks and months, will protect residents and staff from the coronavirus. The organization cautioned for patience as it complies with state and federal directives involving the vaccine.

"We know this has been a very difficult time for our residents, their families and our staff, but we appreciate their resilience and ask that they remain patient," the statement said. "We look forward to eventually reopening our buildings to families and providing a happy, healthy and safe environment for the elderly."

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