Mon. Dec 4th, 2023

Johnson County retirement homes are scheduling clinics for the COVID-19 booster shot vaccine, which is now available for those eligible.

People over 65 years and older are ready to receive their COVID-19 booster shot in Johnson County.

The Centers for Disease Control Prevention approved booster shots for the people with underlying health conditions and jobs that make them susceptible to COVID-19, like teachers or health care workers, on Sept. 24.

Kim Bergen-Jackson, Oaknoll Retirement Residence administrator, said the retirement home is planning a Pfizer vaccine booster shot clinic for Oct. 14 and 22. She said Oaknoll has 450 residents.

The COVID-19 booster shot is only for patients who previously received a two-dose Pfizer vaccine series, according to the CDC.

“So some of those residents got Moderna at the beginning of the year, so they have to wait,” Bergen-Jackson said. “So that’s hard, because people don’t want to wait, they want to get it.”

Bergen-Jackson said one hundred percent of Oaknoll’s residents are vaccinated and 99.5 percent of its staff is vaccinated.

Jodi Thomas, executive director of Melrose Meadows Retirement Community, said the 94 residents, who are almost one hundred percent vaccinated, at Melrose are ready to get their booster shots. Thomas added that Melrose Meadows has also mandated vaccination for its staff.

Thomas said Melrose’s residents do not have any vaccine hesitancy for the COVID-19 vaccine or the booster.

“People who live at Melrose are, for the most part, pretty highly educated people,” Thomas said. “They do a lot of self-educating, and they’re very aware of what’s going on in the news, what’s going on with the vaccines.”

She said a booster coordinator from Walgreens will help set up a vaccination clinic next week.

“They’re very tired of it, they’re just tired of the whole thing,” Thomas said. “They don’t understand why people wouldn’t get vaccinated, that makes no sense to them.”

Melrose Meadows did not have any breakthrough cases, she said.

“Our housekeeping department goes above and beyond with sanitizing and just cleaning constantly to try to keep it out,” Thomas said.

Bergen-Jackson said Oaknoll has worked with Johnson County Public Health since the beginning of the pandemic.

“I think the push for the boosters probably came from the government level, but as soon as it was available, we set up a clinic and I think most places around here have,” she said. “Not everybody has the same vaccination rate as we do, but it’s pretty high for Johnson County.”

Sam Jarvis, Johnson County Public Health community health manager, told the Johnson County Board of Supervisors Wednesday that the county has a good quantity of booster shots available.

He added that his team is waiting to hear from the CDC about booster shots for those not vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine.

“We’re actually in the process of checking in with one of our providers now to make sure that they have all their needs met so they can continue on,” he said.

Bergen-Jackson said she anticipates that Oaknoll will have a high number of people getting the third booster shot at the clinic in October, but the whole community was ready to get vaccinated at the beginning of the year.

“They want to get their booster because they want to travel, they want to go out and do things and go to Hancher. They’re pretty active, so we got people that want to go to football games,” Bergen-Jackson said. “They see the vaccine as a way back to you know, their normal lives, or at least a variety of normal.

By senior