Nursing home officials discuss COVID-19 vaccine

About 85 staff and residents of Holland Lake Nursing & Rehab in Weatherford were administered their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine Monday morning.

As the COVID-19 vaccine continues to be administered to communities’ most vulnerable, a Weatherford nursing home received its first round of the vaccine while a Mineral Wells nursing home is set to get its first dose on Jan. 21.

“We had round one on Monday morning. It was offered to the residents and the staff and I want to say probably total there was about 85 to 86 vaccines given,” Senior Care at Holland Lake Administrator Donna Tillman said. “The second dose will happen on Jan. 25 and that will be the second opportunity for anyone that missed it or has decided they want it.”

Mandy Koenig of Mineral Wells Nursing and Rehab marketing and admissions said they have not received the vaccine but a clinic has been scheduled for Jan. 21.

“Now that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved emergency authorization use of the first COVID-19 vaccine, we have partnered with Omnicare, a branch of CVS pharmacies, to vaccinate residents and staff,” Koenig said. “While not mandatory, we have been encouraging all staff and residents to receive the vaccine. We’ve begun a resident and staff education program so they can make informed decisions.”

The vaccine is currently open to groups in Phase 1A and 1B, which includes hospitals and EMS, medical offices, assisted living and nursing home facilities, people ages 65 and older and those ages 16 and up with chronic medical conditions or who are pregnant.

The latest nursing home COVID-19 data from Texas Health and Human Services was published on Dec. 23.

All Parker County nursing home locations showed to have zero active resident cases, except Santa Fe Health and Rehabilitation Center, which showed to have three active resident COVID-19 cases as of Dec. 23. As for active employee cases, College Park Rehabilitation and Care Center had two, Hilltop Park Rehabilitation and Care Center had two, Keeneland Nursing and Rehabilitation had four and Santa Fe Health and Rehabilitation Center had one. Peach Tree Place, Senior Care at Holland Lake, Weatherford Health Care Center and Willow Park Rehabilitation and Care Center all had zero active employee cases.

In COVID-19-related deaths in Parker County, College Park Rehabilitation and Care Center reported a total of 18 resident deaths as of Dec. 23. Willow Park Rehabilitation and Care Center reported 10 deaths, Hilltop Park Rehabilitation and Care Center reported five deaths and Senior Care at Holland Lake reported one death.

In Palo Pinto County, both Mineral Wells Nursing and Rehabilitation and Palo Pinto Nursing Center reported zero active resident and employee cases as of Dec. 23. Mineral Wells Nursing and Rehab reported a total of 11 resident deaths and Palo Pinto Nursing Center reported eight total resident deaths.

Following a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a notice of common side effects, which include pain and swelling of your arm where you get the shot, fever, chills, tiredness and/or headache.

“We had a couple that felt a little flu-ish like you get, but I really didn’t even realize I had gotten a shot,” Tillman said. “We did a drive-thru for our staff that wasn’t on duty so they didn’t have to come in. So they were screened and got their shot out in the parking lot, and then we had the 15-minute observation for them.”

Parker County Health Authority Dr. Steven Welch said following a dose of the vaccine, a person is required to wait 15 minutes before leaving the site and people with a history of anaphylactic reactions to other medications, insects or foods will be required to wait 30 minutes before leaving.

Koenig said after their facility gets the COVID-19 vaccine, it will not replace their current prevention practices.

“Our resident’s health and safety have always been our top priority. Throughout this pandemic, we have worked tirelessly to protect those entrusted to our care. This vaccine is another layer of that protection,” she said. “Our facilities will still use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), screen staff, visitors and residents, and regularly clean high touchpoint areas. We will also continue routine testing.”

Tillman said the staff at Senior Care at Holland Lake are all very excited to get the first dose of the vaccine.

“Of course, we’ve all been doing research on it for quite a while and doing all the steps to get ready for it,” she said. “We’re ready for this to go away. I hope that it’s going to be available for the general public in more quantities soon because I know there are a lot of people who are anxious to get it. I’m pleased that we got it and we’re just looking forward to good things from this so we can get our world back.”

Koenig said the dedication and commitment to their employees is what has allowed Mineral Wells Nursing and Rehab to provide the highest level of care to those who are most vulnerable to COVID-19.

“We deeply appreciate all that they have done during these unprecedented times,” she said. “This has been a difficult year in more ways than we could have ever imagined. Not just for our facility, but for everyone across the globe. This vaccine feels like the light at the end of a very dark tunnel. With every day, we move closer to the end of this chapter, but life has been forever changed. We are ready to emerge a better and stronger community.”

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