HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Between 230 and 250 residents and staff at the Westport Rehabilitation and Nursing Center received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine Wednesday afternoon.
Long-term care vaccines are being coordinated through a private partnership with CVS and Walgreens.
Walgreens officials tell 8News Westport Rehabilitation and Nursing Center was the first long-term care facility in the Richmond area to receive the vaccine.
“This is the beginning of the end. When we put that first shot in a patient’s arm,” said Walgreens healthcare supervisor Derek Parvizi. “This is it.”
Walgreens pharmacist Travis Henschel says he’s gone from testing dozens of people a day, to now vaccinating the elderly and fellow healthcare workers in Phase 1A of the vaccine distribution.
“We’re all trying to stay sane and just hoping for a good new year,” said Henschel.
For Westport Rehabilitation and Nursing Center Director of Social Services Robin Poindexter, it took a while to decide whether or not to get it, but after a few weeks, she opted in.
“It’s for the good of the whole, it’s not just about me, and especially working in this environment, I want to ensure that I’m doing my due diligence to provide a safe environment,” Poindexter said.
Back in July, 8News reported that an inspector had found that the nursing center was “cohorting COVID-19 positive and negative residents together.”
The finding was made during an unannounced COVID-19 Focused Survey of the facility between May 21 and May 28.
According to a release from Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s office, the long-term care residents and staff were vaccinated by the Walgreens pharmacy team members as part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program.
Gov. Northam was there to witness the vaccinations around 1 p.m. at the center.
He says although this is a light at the end of the tunnel, Virginians should still mask up and social distance.
“We know that these things work. It’s not too much to ask. We’re all in this together. We all have to be a part of the solution,” said Gov. Northam.