Vaccine rollout: Nursing home completes COVID-19 vaccinations

Chad Frey
The Kansan
Harold Reid, 100, was the first to  get a COVID-19 vaccine shot at Newton Presbyterian Manor from a Walgreens staffer with the assistance of Marc Kessinger, executive director.

Harold Reid is Newton Presbyterian Manor’s oldest resident, turning 100 this month. He was also the first to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. 

“I’m thrilled to be able to receive this vaccine,” Reid said. “It’s encouraging to know there’s much to look forward to after a year of challenges. I can’t say enough about the incredible staff here at Newton Presbyterian Manor and how they’ve handled the past year with professionalism and dedication.”

After months of being on the front lines in the battle against COVID-19 — including a COVID-19 case cluster designation and the death of three residents — Newton Presbyterian Manor announced Wednesday the completion of the first two rounds of resident and staff vaccinations for the disease. 

“Knowing that I’ll be able to do my job and provide residents with the peace of mind that I’m protected from the virus is the best possible news,” said Emily Trask, director of human resources. “I can’t say enough about how the community has supported all of us through everything we’ve faced this year.”

With first doses given Jan. 12, and the second on Tuesday, a third clinic is scheduled for those few who had their first dose in February. 

“There’s no doubt the senior population has been hit hard by the virus, along with the health care workers who’ve treated them,” said Marc Kessinger, executive director. “We couldn’t be happier to know there’s finally a bit of light at the end of such a difficult year.”

The Presbyterian Manor vaccine clinic was made possible through the Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program, a national effort coordinated by CVS and Walgreens pharmacies. At this time those pharmacies are only vacinting long term care residents and workers as doses become available. 

Newton Presbyterian Manor received the Pfizer vaccine.

Meanwhile the state and county are currently in Phase II of vaccinations, which targets first responders, educational staff and those older than 65. In Harvey County,  the Harvey County Health Department and Health Ministries have partnered for scheduling and conducting COVID-19 vaccinations for residents 65 years old and older by launching a call center for reservations and a waiting list. The call center is open from 8:30 a.m to 4:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays at  316-836-4990. Those seeking vaccination can also join the waiting list online at https://harveycounty.com/covid19vaccine.

Gov. Laura Kelly announced Wednesday the launch of the “Find My Vaccine” mapping tool, designed to help Kansans locate sites that are administering vaccines in their communities. The tool is available now on https://kansasvaccine.gov, Kansas’ COVID-19 vaccine website. 

All who received the COVID-19 vaccine during clinics at Newton Presbyterian Manor stayed for 15 minutes after for observation.  Some hadn’t seen their neighbors in 10 months.

While side effects related to the vaccine are rare, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Newton Presbyterian Manor will closely monitor those who received vaccinations. Potential side effects include injection site pain, fatigue, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain and fever.

The vaccine being distributed at Newton Presbyterian Manor is being administered by Walgreens, which partnered with Pfizer and the federal government to ensure safe distribution to at-risk populations during the first round of inoculations through the Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program.

While vaccinations will lower the risk of transmission throughout the community, precautions remain in place.

Newton Presbyterian Manor executive director Marc Kessinger receives his vaccine and encourages others.

All Presbyterian Manor employees are encouraged to follow CDC guidelines and best practices as these are continually updated. We have been screening individuals as they enter the community building for a shift and before individuals have any direct contact with residents. 

All staff are educated to stay at home if they are experiencing symptoms of a respiratory illness or not feeling well. Employee surveillance testing will continue as required by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services based on county positivity rates for COVID-19 testing.