By Erin Freeman | Lynnwood Times Staff
2020 proved to be a difficult year for older adult communities in Snohomish County, with loomingisolation, restrictions on visitation and the loss of loved ones in the wake of the coronavirus.
But things are beginning to look up for Washington’s 65 and older population, with the state’s recent start of the administration of COVID-19 vaccines to residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities.
Through an existing partnership with CVS pharmacy, residents and staff at Fairwinds-Brighton Court, a Leisure Care community in Lynnwood, received their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine on January 10. They were one of the first leisure care communities in the state to receive COVID-19 vaccinations.
Ryan Rasar, Chief Operating Officer for Leisure Care, a network of 52 retirement communities within 18 states, says that providing his communities with the opportunity to be vaccinated was a wonderful way to begin the new year.
“It’s a great way to start the year,” Rasar said. “We currently have several of our communities scheduled for their clinics to distribute the vaccine and will roll out more clinics as we get dates secured.”
The Fairwinds-Brighton Court community shared a collective sigh of relief as they received the first dosage of their vaccine.
“It was a very festive day, in some regards an emotional day, with everything everyone’s been through in the past ten months,” Rasar said.
205 vaccines were administered, with the second dosage scheduled for January 31. 92% of the leisure community residents opted to receive the vaccine. Rasar says that most of the remaining 8% chose not to due to current medications or previous allergic reactions to vaccinations.
“We were really happy with our numbers… most of our residents were in favor of getting the vaccine,” Rasar explained. “What we did, and continue to do, is let people make their own decision but provide them with the facts from what we know from the CDC.”
While staff vaccination was a bit lower- sitting at 60%- Rasar explained that not all were treated out of an abundance of caution to ensure residents would still receive daily care if a large portion of staff experienced side effects.
Staff and residents who opted out of the first round have the opportunity to be vaccinated on Jan. 31 and will get their second on February 21.
“We’re so blessed to be a part of this first group… we’re really looking forward to the 31st, it’ll be even more celebratory,” said Rasar.