UPMC Senior Communities vaccinated their first frontline health care workers and residents at a skilled nursing facility with doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine.
“I’m happy to be receiving this vaccine and to know I will be better protected and protecting the vulnerable residents that I care for and about,” said Autum DeParasis, a licensed practical nurse studying to get her registered nurse degree and a three-year employee at UPMC.
Elderly individuals, particularly in congregate care settings, are vulnerable to COVID-19 disease and complications. In long-term care facilities, it is not definitively known whether vaccinating vulnerable patients or those caretakers in a “ring” around them is an optimal strategy. UPMC’s approach is to focus first on facilities where the risk and consequences of COVID-19 transmission are highest and vaccinate both health care workers and residents at the same time.
“I hardly felt anything,” said 79-year-old Nancy Fadgen (pictured above) after receiving the vaccine, who has been a resident of UPMC Heritage Place since 2011. “I feel good about getting this vaccine. It makes me feel better that I have protection.”
“It’s a pretty exciting day for us because we are starting our COVID-19 vaccination program in our senior communities. COVID-19 has really defined the last year and directed our lives, it’s changed what we do and how we administer care, particularly in the long-term care setting,” said Dr. David Nace, chief medical officer for UPMC Senior Communities, who helped administer the vaccines. “It’s been stressful for all staff and residents. The neat thing here is we are at a turning point in this pandemic. Our hope today is that this will make a difference and bring the beginning of the end of this pandemic.”
Health care workers and residents who receive the voluntary vaccination are prioritized in accordance with U.S. Centers for Disease Control guidelines.