Vaccinations for the COVID-19 are beginning to roll out in Mid-Missouri nursing homes.
However, the process is slow.
Health officials advise patience.
Residents of Jefferson City Manor received the first of two vaccinations for the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 on Wednesday.
"There are lots of good things happening over there," said Ben Scheulen, CEO of JMS Senior Living, which owns the facility. "We finally got our vaccine in. Staff and residents have lined up all afternoon."
Staff from Walgreens Pharmacies were expected to continue administering the vaccination until late in the day, Scheulen said.
There seems to be a lot of excitement for the vaccine, he continued.
Because residents and staff must voluntarily receive the vaccine, administrators have been sending consent forms to families and residents for several weeks.
How many people at Jefferson City Manor actually receive the vaccine is still uncertain. The JMS facility in Boonville received vaccines Tuesday. The number of residents there who received it wasn't has high as expected, he said.
"Some buildings are a little more hesitant. We're encouraging them to take the vaccine because it's best for them," Scheulen said.
For consistency, all Missouri nursing facilities are getting the Moderna vaccine, he said. That vaccine requires a second shot 28 days after the first. The Pfizer vaccine, which came out about a week earlier than Moderna's, requires the second shot after 21 days.
Clinics are all scheduled, Scheulen said, with another clinic planned in 28 days at Jefferson City Manor. There will be another clinic 28 days after that in case people who chose not to receive the vaccine during the first round change their minds.
Residents of StoneBridge Senior Living Lake Ozark received their first round of vaccinations Tuesday.
StoneBridge operates three facilities in Jefferson City — StoneBridge Adams Street, StoneBridge Villa Marie and StoneBridge Oak Tree.
Those three facilities are expected to receive their first round of vaccinations in early January, according to Amanda Cross, regional nurse for StoneBridge.
As a front-line health worker, Cross was among the first to receive the vaccination at the Lake Ozark facility.
She and Ethel Otto, 101, were "kind of there together" to receive the vaccination, Cross said.
"It's been a rough year for long-term care facilities and their staffs," Cross said Wednesday. "The vaccine is a really important step for us to be able to open again. But we're still a ways off from that happening."
Cross said CVS Pharmacy provided the vaccinations Tuesday. All but four of the residents at the Lake Ozark facility elected to receive it, she said.
Those who received the first round are expected to receive the second round late in January, Cross said.
Despite vaccines coming available for residents and staff of nursing facilities, don't anticipate them opening up anytime soon, Scheulen said.
"I know as well as anyone else how hard this is on the residents and their families — and not being able to see loved ones," he said. "I ask everyone to stay patient and to stay understanding. That end is coming, but it is not in the very immediate future."
COVID-19 has been especially deadly for the elderly and people with underlying health conditions. Of the 90 COVID-19-related deaths confirmed by the Cole County Health Department as of Tuesday, 43 have been among long-term care facility residents.
Phase 1A of Missouri's plan for distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine calls for vaccinations of long-term care facility residents and staff and "patient-facing" health care workers (those who may have direct or indirect exposure to the virus and are unable to work from home). Phase 1B includes high-risk individuals (ages 18-64 with an underlying health condition) and people 65 and older, first responders and essential workers, such as teachers and education staff, water and wastewater workers, energy workers, critical manufacturing workers, and food and agriculture workers.