Relief, joy, gratitude, and hopefulness: Those were the prevalent emotions among staff members and residents of both The Phyllis Siperstein Tamarisk Assisted Living Residence (“Tamarisk”) and Shalom and Shalom II Apartments (“Shalom Apartments”) on Friday, Jan. 22. That was the day that 100 percent of Tamarisk residents and staff members, and a significant majority of Shalom residents and staff members, received their first Covid-19 vaccine. Their second round of the vaccination was held on Friday, Feb. 12.
A team of CVS pharmacists came to do the injections at both sites. “Although some people were a bit nervous that day, by Monday morning, we had several groups of residents calling staff to say how elated, grateful, and appreciative they were that the clinic was held,” said Shalom Apartments Executive Director Susan Bazar. “We have CVS to thank for that.”. Approximately 90 percent of staff and 85 percent of residents received their vaccines, she said.
“This was really a team effort. Several of us put everything aside – other than dire emergencies – to do what we needed to do [with respect to] the authorization forms, signage, communication, etc.,” said Bazar. “All of our staff were involved in one way or another; getting the residents downstairs on Jan. 22 was a well-choreographed dance.”
“The paperwork [that day] took 20 minutes to upload, the shot took 20 seconds,” explained Tamarisk Executive Director Roberta Ragge, noting that two individuals on the CVS team updated staff and residents’ information into CVS’ portal. “Gathering and disseminating the most up-to-date information; quelling people’s anxieties; and getting everyone’s health care information, health insurance cards and signed permission forms all copied in triplicate were no easy feats,” explained Ragge. Michele Murphy, part of Tamarisk’s concierge staff, played a key role in gathering and uploading all the necessary data and information, and getting permission for the vaccinations from family members of those in the Renaissance unit.
“Mentioning being tired after the vaccination – a typical side effect – a couple of residents then joked that they are routinely tired,” said Ragge. “Aside from that, no staff members reported any side effects.”
At Tamarisk, which has had no cases of Covid-19, residents have been fabulous about being compliant with all CDC recommendations – social distancing, masking, and quarantining when staff members reported possible Covid-19 exposure. Throughout this long year, Tamarisk families have sponsored staff lunches to help lift spirits among the staff, and Ragge purchased Team Tamarisk t-shirts, too, for staff. Ragge added, “After being in lock-down for nearly a year, we’re feeling relieved and can see light at the end of the tunnel.”