Local COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic Brings Hope
By Barbara A. Preston l February 3, 2021
Montgomery resident Jeffrey Tener gladly offered his arm to receive his first dose of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday. “This is good,” he says, “as it gives people a feeling like we’re moving in the right direction and shows that there’s some end in sight.”
Tener, a retired professional arbitrator, is a resident at Stonebridge at Montgomery—a full-service continuing care retirement community that provides independent living, personal care services, skilled nursing, and rehabilitation.
Stonebridge facilitated a vaccination clinic on its Montgomery Township campus on Thursday, January 28. During the on-site clinic, 131 independent living residents received the COVID-19 vaccine—administered by technicians from Walgreens. The clinic was like going to a party, complete with disco music, balloons, refreshments, and lots of positive energy. The next clinic is scheduled for February 18.
“To date 253 residents and staff members at Stonebridge at Montgomery have received the COVID-19 vaccine," according to Mary Cannon, executive director of Stonebridge at Montgomery. "We are very fortunate to have been among the first in the state to receive the vaccine. Since our first clinic on December 28, Stonebridge has conducted five vaccination clinics for residents and staff members. The herculean efforts of our Stonebridge and Springpoint healthcare teams along with our partners at Walgreens and CVS are providing safe and effective on-site vaccinations.”
Based on evidence from clinical trials, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was 95 percent effective at preventing laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 illness in people without evidence of previous infection.
Older folks face a much higher risk of complications, hospitalizations, and even death when infected with COVID-19. Stonebridge is one of many communities nationwide that has experienced this firsthand. Since March 2020, the Stonebridge has reported: 46 resident cases of COVID; 69 staff cases; 15 resident fatalities; and zero staff fatalities.
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CEO Anthony A. Argondizza, says on the Springpoint website: "Consistent with the national trend of an increase in active cases, Springpoint is experiencing volatility in COVID-19 case positivity as well. The overall system’s positivity rate, inclusive of residents and employees, is 1.5183 percent from the most recent round of testing. (Posted December 2020).
"Our testing results validate the need for continued vigilance," Argondizza says. "The majority of employees who have recently tested positive for COVID-19 are asymptomatic, meaning that they don’t appear to have any symptoms or fever. Identifying these asymptomatic individuals prevents the further spread of the virus and is a key benefit of our expanded testing strategy. We understand that testing fatigue is growing throughout our communities, but it is essential to keep us all safe."
Photo captions: Stonebridge Residents Association President Jeff Tener with Montgomery Township Mayor Devra Keenan; Stonebridge resident Sydney Taggart; Hilton Anderson with Myrtle. Row two: Stonebridge resident Dr. Herbert Kaufmann, MD; Tener, Keenan, Mary Cannon, executive director of Stonebridge at Montgomery; and Roberto Muniz, healthcare administrator; and Stonebridge residents Bruce and Doreen Maloof.
Montgomery Township Mayor Devra Keenan visited the clinic in a show of support.
"It was very moving to see Montgomery residents at such a high risk getting vaccinated," she says. "I must admit I become teary eyed thinking how much this means not only to the dedicated staff and residents, but to their families and those who love and worry about them. And as frustrating as the vaccine shortage is, I am heartened that when anyone in our community gets vaccinated, it makes us all a little bit safer. So please wear you masks, wash your hands, keep your safe distances and when you can get vaccinated, please do it."
Mayor Keenan encourages all to register for the vaccine at: covidvaccine.nj.gov.