NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – The COVID-19 vaccine is rolling out to residents and staff in 1,400 long term care nursing facilities in Virginia. Two drug store chains, CVS and Walgreens, partnered with the federal government to go into these facilities and give the shots so residents won’t have to leave.
In Norfolk on Tuesday, CVS set up shop inside Lake Taylor Transitional Care Hospital, where they are set to administer 400 shots over two days.
“I’m just excited to be able to restore some hope,” Lead Pharmacist Aviance Lewis told 10 On Your Side.
Hope for the staff like Edward Robinson, who not only works with COVID-19 patients, he does so at great risk to himself. “I’m a two-time cancer survivor; I have only 80% lung capacity and I take care of COVID-19 patients,” he said.
It also brings hope to residents who have basically lived in seclusion since March.
“You know, we went through Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s and we’ve only had window visits,” said hospital President & CEO Tom Orsini, who led by example. He was first to roll up his sleeve for the vaccine.
The center has about 295 patients and 400 staff members. Not all have agreed to get the shot, but Orsini is optimistic, “The day of people are really going to get excited about it and want to do it, so I think we’re going to get a lot of late last minute sign ups.”
Adding doses ‘day of ‘ can be tricky though. The vaccine is like liquid gold. No one wants to waste a drop. It’s a little stressful. “There’s lot of emotions that happen,” Lewis said.
Pharmacists have six hours to use the thawed Pfizer vaccine so they only prepare what they expect they’ll need. If there’s extra, Lewis said, “The good thing is that’s when we get to get ours if we haven’t already. I got mine yesterday; we had two doses.”
CVS will be back out at the Lake Taylor facility Wednesday and again in 21 days to administer the second round doses of the vaccine.