As coronavirus vaccines are delivered to the state of Illinois, more facilities are gaining access to the treatments, including several suburban long-term care facilities that are seeing their first batches of doses arriving this week.
One such location was Burgess Square Healthcare and Rehab Center in suburban Westmont, which saw its first doses of the treatment arrive recently.
“We’ve been waiting for this for so long,” Dr. Rajeev Kumar said. “We have three clinic days and we hope to get all of our staff and all of our residents vaccinated. Hopefully within a month or so, our residents will have their freedom back.”
Long-term care facilities have been hit hard by the pandemic, with staffers working around the clock to help keep vulnerable residents safe.
As part of the federal government’s rollout of the coronavirus vaccine, Walgreens and CVS have been contracted to provide doses of the vaccine to long-term care facilities, and doctors are optimistic that the treatment will be immediately helpful.
“Looking at the studies done, there’s really no additional risk to seniors,” Kumar said. “Usually, seniors have a less robust response to vaccines, so the side effects might even be muted in our seniors compared to younger populations.”
Kumar says that the Westmont facility has seen high-demand for the vaccine, and at least 90% of the residents and 50% of the staffers at the facility have already received their first doses. The second dose will be administered in the coming weeks, with companies like Walgreens and CVS handling the scheduling and administration of the doses.
Once the second dose is administered, Kumar says that residents will be allowed to leave the facility to visit family and friends, provided they continue to wear masks and to exercise other COVID-avoidance strategies, like frequent hand-washing.
Such measures are necessary, as the general population won’t begin receiving the treatment until next year, according to health experts.