DES MOINES, Iowa — Long-term care facilities across Iowa began distributing the first round of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to staff and residents on Monday.
Staff and residents at Trinity Center at Luther Park are breathing a sigh of relief after doses of the vaccine arrived Monday.
“We had our first COVID case death at the end of March, so it’s been a long nine months and we’re ready for an end,” said Carol Sipfle, chief operating officer of Trinity Center at Luther Park.
However, some long-term care facilities are still anticipating the arrival of the Pfizer vaccine. Jennifer Conner, owner of Fleur Heights Care Center and Carlisle Care Center Assisted Living Facility, said she is preparing both centers to receive the vaccine.
“We are working with Walgreens and they have a database that we have to fill out online so they have all of the information of all of our residents, all the allergies,” said Conner. “We have to get approval from their families, and we have to give information so people are aware of what they’re receiving.”
Brent Willett, president and CEO of the Iowa Health Care Association, said, “We anticipate that over the next three months or so we’ll be going through the vaccination process. By the time we reach mid-March of 2021, we expect the vast majority of residents and staff at long-term care facilities to have durable immunity as a result of the vaccinations.”
Even though Trinity Park at Luther Center received the vaccine, Sipfle said it will be a while before they lift any restrictions.
The Iowa Health Care Association said the administration of the second vaccine dose is expected to begin Feb. 2.
As of Monday evening, 1,138 residents of Iowa long-term care facilities have died from COVID-19, according to Iowa Department of Public Health data. There are currently coronavirus outbreaks at 125 long-term care facilities across the state.