Nursing home residents, staff receive Covid vaccine

It may not have been a holiday season full of gatherings at Madison County nursing homes, but nursing home administrators-in-training from Madison Valley Manor and Tobacco Root Mountains Care Center told the Madison County Board of Commissioners at their weekly meeting on January 5 that holiday spirits were still high.

Another update from the nursing home staff members during a lull between commission agenda items was that staff and residents at both county facilities have begun receiving the Moderna Covid vaccine.

Vaccinations began at MVM on Jan. 7, said Manor staff member Allison Veland. Two nurses contracting with Big Sky Pharmacy will be administering the vaccines. Twenty-five doses were allocated to the facility.

The vaccine, said Veland, will not be mandatory, “but we are working on getting those out for those who choose to do it.”

Commissioner Jim Hart asked Veland if she had gotten a sense most of the people at the Manor were willing to get the vaccine.

“Not a whole lot,” said Veland, who explained that the 25 doses they’ve received are enough for the more than 40 staff members and residents at the facility since not all are interested in becoming inoculated. “We’ve got 16 residents, and not all of the residents, have chosen to do that… We’re doing our best to educate on that as well, we had Dr. Davenport come over to try to answer any questions, as there is some apprehension about that,” she said.

Gail Nelson offered an update from the TRMCC. Approximately one third of the facility’s staff will consent to receiving the vaccine but 22 out of 23 residents have signed up for the vaccination which began on the week of January 11.

Akin to the process at MVM an in-house nurse contracting with Big Sky Pharmacy will be administering the first round of the two-phase shot. “We will be staggering it,” said Nelson, “so that not everybody gets symptoms the same day if we are short on staff.”

Nelson has also seen some apprehension surrounding those opting to not receive the Covid vaccine. “I think vaccinations in general carry some apprehension,” she said. “People choose not to take the flu vaccinations, or others, so it really is about education.”

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