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Senior living communities gear up for vaccine distribution

“When you have a virus that specifically targets vulnerable people, our customers, people that we work hard and care for every day, our parents and our grandparents...it's a big responsibility. We took it that way,” Stubblefield said.

Posted: Dec 12, 2020 7:18 PM
Updated: Dec 12, 2020 11:19 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- Health care workers, nursing home residents and caretakers are in "Phase 1A' of vaccine distribution. 

As part of Phase 1A, the Oregon Health Authority said that the first vaccines will go to every hospital in Oregon, as well as emergency medical service providers and long-term care facilities.

RELATED: HERE'S WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT PFIZER'S VACCINE -- INCLUDING WHO COULD GET IT FIRST

Allocations are based upon how many people are in each county and each provider’s storage capacity, along with other health equity considerations.

The Springs at Greer Gardens is a senior living community in Eugene. Founder and CEO of The Springs Living Fee Stubblefield said if all staff and residents get vaccinated, it would be a game changer. However, when we asked him if getting vaccinated will be a requirement to live or work at their facilities he said no. The decision will be voluntary.

“We're almost to the vaccine,” Stubblefield said. “We could see our staff at The Springs at Greer Gardens in Eugene be vaccinated with the first round in the next week or two. We're really excited about that. Until then, we will continue to use all the systems that we've created and implemented to keep people safe.”

Out of the 260 residents at The Springs at Greer Gardens, none have tested positive for COVID-19. However, 3 staff members have tested positive out of 152.

“When you have a virus that specifically targets vulnerable people, our customers, people that we work hard and care for every day, our parents and our grandparents, it's a big responsibility. We took it that way,” Stubblefield said.

Amira Fahoum works at Compass Senior Living in Eugene. She said currently she doesn't know if the facility will require residents and staff to get vaccinated. However, she believes it is their best chance at fighting this virus. 

“The more people who can get vaccinated, the less it will be transmitted,” Fahoum said. "This virus affects our elderly population so much harder. If we can start to protect them and those that care for them, then we have a greater chance of not having the large outbreaks like we're seeing.”

Lane County Public Health officials said that long-term care facilities make up 44 percent of all active outbreaks in Lane County, and four out of five deaths.

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