Nonprofit advocates for elderly to receive vaccine in first group | #vacation | #seniors | #elderly
HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) — State and local health officials have been preparing for the COVID-19 vaccine since the spring.
Governor Ralph Northam said yesterday that once Virginia gets its first Pfizer doses, distribution to health care workers and long-term care facilities will begin.
The elderly community has been looking forward to this. They know it won’t change things immediately, but it’s a step in the right direction.
Riverside health leaders spoke with 10 On Your Side yesterday and they confirmed that frontline healthcare workers will be first on the list.
That then funnels down to others in the community. President and CEO of LeadingAge Virginia Melissa Andrews says she is also advocating for the elderly population to be high on that list.
“It’s the first real ray of hope that we’ve had since March,” said Andrews. “We’ve been really pushing through our advocacy work to make sure that extends to assisted living, adult day, home health and home care workers, as well as independent living residents who are living in a communal setting — like those in a retirement community.”
Andrews explained why she feels this particular group should be high on the vaccination list.
“We know how easily this is spread. And we know that staff is the ‘main spreader’ because they go back out into their lives,” she continued.
But because of the risk factor involved, receiving the vaccine may look different.
“In Virginia, CVS and Walgreens are the designated pharmacies that are working with providers to bring the vaccinations to their campuses,” she said. “They’re working directly with their pharmacies, and based on the allotment that we had as a state, those pharmacies are delivering a certain number of doses based on the requirements of those communities.”
Andrews explained how every day she hears news that an establishment they work with has a change or outbreak, so this focus is very important to her.
“Their immunity is not necessarily as strong as say yours or mine, so, if we got COVID — it might knock you down for a couple of days — but it potentially will not be as life-threatening as if you are in your 80s or 90s,” she said.
“These are those who have built this country so that we can do and accomplish what we want to. And so they deserve the utmost respect and the quickest responses. They’re so vulnerable to this pandemic,” she added.
Andrews said there is still a long road ahead of them but sees this opportunity as a light at the end of the tunnel.