The week of January 11th kicked off the start of vaccine clinics at Covia communities, starting on January 12th at San Francisco Towers and following later in the week at Canterbury Woods and St. Paul’s Towers.
“When the long awaited day finally arrived, it really seemed to fly by in a flurry of activity,” says Christina Spence, San Francisco Towers Executive Director. “We were getting people their vaccines, having them monitored, and then sending them on their way.” Over 636 members of the Towers community have signed up to get vaccinated over the course of the three vaccine clinics.
“Staff and residents alike were so grateful and the atmosphere was full of hope,” notes Spence. This excitement was covered by local news stations, including CBSN Bay Area and KPIX-CBS, who were onsite to document the experience.
Friday January 15th saw clinics at both St. Paul’s Towers in Oakland and Canterbury Woods in Pacific Grove. Connie Yuen, Assistant Executive Director at St. Paul’s Towers, highlights that at the Towers clinic “there was a nice steady flow and we were able to avoid long lines and wait times.” 100% of St. Paul’s Towers residents participated in the first clinic with 60% of staff participating as well. “More staff signed up for the 2nd round and about a dozen staff members have already received their vaccine,” notes Yuen.
Residents, staff, and contractors were excited and hopeful about getting the vaccine and Yuen says that even though “a few people were nervous, they understood this is the step we need to take if we want to go back to a ‘normal’ way of life.” Yuen feels “very fortunate to be given the opportunity to take the vaccine early on” as it brings hope for the future.
Spirits were high at Canterbury Woods as well. Geoven Snaer, Director of Administrative Services, says that “residents and staff were both very excited and relieved to finally get their vaccine.” 39 residents and 129 staff participated in the first clinic with more signing up for the second clinic, which will take place on February 4th.
The clinics “really are a team effort,” says Snaer, who highlighted the importance of staff who helped not only organize but also run the clinic, including intake, processing, providing assistance to residents, and notifying everyone about the correct time to arrive.
The clinic’s success was also due to the support from the local pharmacy, which Snaer notes “was fantastic. The pharmacists and support staff from Walgreens treated our residents and staff with much respect and courtesy. One pharmacist even stayed with our very last resident vaccine recipient to make sure she didn’t have a reaction afterwards.”
Common side effects like “soreness, body aches and headaches seem to be the things we are hearing about,” notes Snaer, who says that his “arm was sore for about 3 days, but that was about it.”
Vaccine clinics are continuing to be set up for all Covia communities with some starting their first clinics this week. Each community will have three clinics, which ensures that residents and staff both have the opportunity to get vaccinated. The second clinic will provide not only second doses for those who have already received the first dose but it will also provide first doses to those who weren’t able to attend the first clinic. As Spence notes, “looking forward to our second clinic, we know that being vaccinated won’t immediately change our new normal – but it’s moving us forward in the right direction to be together again.”