It’s Worth A Shot – State’s Care Facilities Seeing Effectiveness Of COVID-19 Vaccine – The Opinion Tribune

Julianne Marriott says she  understands the reluctance some people might have about getting vaccinated for COVID-19, but as the administrator for Glen Haven Village skilled nursing and Linnwood Estates assisted living, she’s seen first-hand the devastating effects the coronavirus has had on a vulnerable population in our community. She’s also seen the positive impact the availability of a COVID-19 vaccine has had on the physical and mental well-being of that same population.

Marriott and other workers in the healthcare field were among the first group of people in Mills County to get vaccinated for COVID-19 last winter.

“I felt as though getting vaccinated was a duty of mine, for not only the protection of my family – I have a grandmother that I want to be able to see and a lot of my family works in healthcare – but the pressure for effectively protecting our facilities was great,” she said. “We were all very educated on the risk and the potential detriments to the populations that we work in.

“Additionally, I felt like it was my duty for the residents here at Glen Haven and the tenants at Linnwood because I watched people struggle who were infected with COVID and ultimately pass away and I didn’t want to be responsible for another one of those cases.”

When COVID-19 vaccinations first became available to assisted living and skilled care facilities last winter, around 93 percent of residents at Glen Haven Village and 96 percent of the tenants at Linnwood Estates received the vaccine.

“They actually vaccinated all staff and residents of assisted living and nursing facilities all with Pfizer,” Marriott explained. “That way, if people moved from place to place, they were able to get their second doses.”

Care facilities across the state – like Glen Haven Village and Linnwood Estates – received vaccine through the federal Pharmacy Partnership Program. Each facility in Iowa was paired with either Walgreens or CVS Pharmacy. Representatives from the pharmacies came to the facilities to administer vaccinations, holding three clinics at each campus.

The effectiveness of the vaccine became clear immediately, Marriott said.

“After the vaccination compaign completed across the state, we saw a 97-percent  decrease in COVID cases in nursing facilities,” she said.

Marriott said the positive impact of the vaccine is being felt by residents at Glen Haven Village and tenants at Linnwood Estates.

“We’re seeing weights increase. We’re seeing falls decrease as people are able to spend time in the common areas,” she said. “They’re so much happier now that they’re getting routine family visits. Even until recently, we weren’t able to allow multiple children into the buildings. We were limiting visitors to two and it wasn’t quite warm enough yet outside to consistently do those outdoor visits, but now they can see all of their families. They can enjoy meals outdoors with their families and friends and it is making all of the difference in their health and attitudes.”

The percentage of staff at Glen Haven Village and Linnwood Estates that’s been vaccinated for the virus isn’t nearly as high as the resident rate. As of last week, Marriott said 55 percent of the staff between the two facilities had received the vaccine.  She expects the percentage to keep climbing, noting that those employees who are vaccinated no longer have to undergo weekly testing for the virus.

“That has prompted additional people to want to be vaccinated as well,” Marriott said. “We’ve been doing weekly to bi-weekly testing for many, many months and it is a challenge, especially when testing is only on a day off.”

Marriott added that masks are still a requirement at both facilities.

“Everybody has to continue to wear a mask in our setting – even those that are fully vaccinated at this time because we still have new residents coming in, new patients coming into the rehab cottage, new tenants moving in that are not yet fully vaccinated because their previous health status has prevented them from making it to a clinic,” she said. “We still need to protect them since vaccinated people can still be carriers.”

Marriott encourages anyone who is reluctant to get the vaccine to take the time to visit with a medical professional about the true risks and to gather their information about the virus and vaccines from a reliable source.  From a personal experience, she has no reservations about recommending the vaccine to others.

“I just personally felt my vaccinated status was a huge weight and burden off of my shoulders,” she said. “I can’t recommend that feeling more strongly.”