COVID vaccinations begin in Fulton County

By David J. Coehrs - [email protected]

Ninety-six residents and staff members of Fulton Manor Nursing Home in Wauseon were among the first people in Fulton County to be inoculated against COVID-19, and Director of Nursing Ron Torres said the procedure went smoothly.

Representatives from CVS Pharmacy offered the non-mandatory Pfizer vaccine shot at the facility on Monday. They will return in three weeks to administer a necessary second shot, then visit once more to ensure that all who want the vaccine are covered.

Torres said the few residents and staff members that refused the inoculation “wanted to see how the first round went.”

Fulton County Health Commissioner Kim Cupp said Fulton Manor is one of several county long-term care facilities to receive the COVID-19 vaccine short-term, including Swanton Healthcare and Retirement Center, Swanton Valley Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center, Fairlawn Haven in Archbold, and Indian Meadows in Wauseon. All will be provided doses through contracts with pharmacies, particularly CVS and Walgreens.

The county health department received its own shipment of 200 doses of the Moderna brand vaccine on Tuesday, and expects weekly shipments that could vary in quantity. The department is responsible for distributing the vaccine among county health care facilities not associated with Fulton County Health Center, such as dentist and independent physician offices and emergency medical services, and will start with those individuals.

Cupp said the health department will follow guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and adopted by the state.

FCHC, whose 842 employees also encompass Fulton Manor, Fulton Suites, and several county medical offices, has yet to hear how many doses are forthcoming for its hospital staff. The facility also doesn’t know which brand of vaccine it will receive or when, or how often it will receive shipments.

“We haven’t been told anything yet,” said Steve McCoy, FCHC director of marketing and planning. “Through the application process we have requested enough vaccine to do all our employees.”

He said all of the facility’s personnel are considered within Level 1A, a government designation for frontline workers.

Fairlawn Haven has contracted with Walgreens for a vaccine clinic on Dec. 29. Two more clinics will follow over six weeks. The facility has about 88 residents and about 200 staff members.

Administrator Nancy Beck said some people living and working at the facility have concerns about the vaccine, “but that’s just the same as we’re hearing everywhere. We have families that are anxious for their loved ones to get it.”

At Swanton Health Care and Retirement Center, vaccine shots should be available within the next three to four weeks, according to Joni Kelley, infection preventionist. The center has partnered with Walgreens, and plans three clinics for distribution.

“We will have enough doses to cover all of the residents and staff who consent,” Kelley said. “It feels like there’s the start of some weight off our shoulders.”

The facility currently has about 65 residents and about 80 staff members. “There are a few that are cautiously optimistic and an overwhelming majority that are supportive and and planning to receive it,” Kelley said.

Swanton Health Care and Retirement has been in contact with both the Ohio Department of Health and the National Health Care Safety Network to arrange plans for distribution.

Kelley said she has “no reservations whatsoever” about getting inoculated with the vaccine, but added that wearing masks and social distancing will continue at the facility. “That will help to get us through the flu season in the spring, protect us from that as well,” she said.

By David J. Coehrs

[email protected]

Reach David J. Coehrs at 419-335-2010.

Reach David J. Coehrs at 419-335-2010.