Vaccine clinics scheduled for some extended care facilities, others await Operation Warp Speed’s COVID-19 answer


AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Operation Warp Speed made its way to the CSRA with CVS and Walgreens bringing COVID-19 vaccine doses into long term care facilities beginning this week.

This year NewsChannel 6 kept track of the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on our most vulnerable group and those who care for them closely, including at Windemere. It was a tough year that included a lot of infections and deaths. But now there is hope.

“For the first time in ten months, a window of hope,” Sava Senior Care Consulting, LLC Executive Vice President Annaliese Impink said to NewsChannel 6.

The federal government’s vaccination program finally seeing the light of day in the CSRA. It’s refreshing news for places such as Windemere Health and Rehabilitation Center, where COVID-19 wreaked havoc on residents and staff.

“Unfortunately, we had some losses and that hurts everybody,” Impink explained adding that none of the 75 residents or 88 employees have COVID now. “But I think the team, overall, did a very nice job once we learned and understood what we were supposed to be doing.”

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp laid out the public private partnership this week between CVS and Walgreens and around 95 percent of long term care facilities in the state.

In South Carolina, you will find the same partnerships coming into fruition soon. Benton House in Aiken stated,

“We are grateful that priority for the vaccine has been given to frontline healthcare workers and residents of long term care. Our residents and team look forward to beating this pandemic and welcoming friends and family back to the community.”

Nicole Simmons, Benton House Executive Director

Brookdale North Augusta, an assisted living community there, will receive its CVS clinic date after nursing homes. In a statement it said,

“We are grateful that the government has prioritized senior living in the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. Seniors represent one of the nation’s most vulnerable populations and this vaccine program has the potential to significantly improve outcomes for residents, a population who are at high risk if they contract COVID-19. As part of phase one distribution, vaccinations are already underway at some Brookdale Senior Living skilled nursing communities across the country.”

Heather Hunter, Communications Manager, Brookdale North Augusta

Reaction to the news at Windemere was mixed, with most residents and their loved ones supporting vaccination while some employees want to wait and see results. But the hope of more interactions in 2021 outweighs all.

“In their minds and in their loved ones minds, this is my opportunity to get back to some sense of normalcy, where I can come in and see my mom or see my sister,” said Impink.

She added that until a large number of people in the country gets vaccinated, they will continue the process of performing COVID-19 testing and following CDC guidelines.

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