Among the first to get a shot at Mission Commons

Mission Commons resident Donald Petrin is one of the first to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. ­

Mission Commons and Plymouth Village have started vaccinating their residents.

On Thursday, Jan. 14, the county announced that people aged 65 and older are eligible to get vaccinated.

“We know that our seniors are the most vulnerable to serious illness and death if they contract COVID-19, and we want to get them vaccinated as quickly as possible,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Curt Hagman. “We ask the community for patience as we continue to receive doses from the state to serve our senior population and as we continue to vaccinate health care workers.”

Mission Commons, an assisted living facility in Redlands, was one of the county’s first retirement homes to receive doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Residents started receiving their shots on Friday, Jan. 15. A local CVS Pharmacy team administered the shots.  

“Our residents are excited,” said Karla Jerez, general manager. “We have been waiting for a long time.”

Mission Commons vaccinated a total of 145 residents and employees during the first day. They will receive their second shot on Feb. 5.

“We scheduled a third clinic on Feb. 26 for people who might have missed the first two,” said Jerez.

Donald Petrin was one of the first residents to receive his shot.

“It is exciting to get the vaccine so soon,” he said. “I’m not worried about any side effects.”

Jerez said Mission Commons had 45 positive COVID-19 cases since Marcg. The low numbers are attributed to Mission Commons’ strict visitation rules.

One death has been reported. Dona Searles, a member of First Lutheran Church and founder of the church's Prayer Shawl Ministry, died of COVID-19, according to Pastor Krogstad of First Lutheran.

“If you are not an essential caregiver, you can’t come into our facility,” said Jerez. “We screen everyone’s temperature before they enter the building.”

Jerez said the visitor restrictions have been tough on residents.

“It has been a rough time, but we are hoping to lift some of the restrictions soon,” she said. “It will take time, but for now, we will continue with what we have in place. We do family Zoom meetings so residents can still see their loved ones virtually.”

Plymouth Village also started vaccinating its residents and staff with vaccines supplied by Walgreens.   

“We have vaccinated 334 people, and two more clinics are scheduled,” said Edie Burge, communications manager for HumanGood, which operates Plymouth Village. “It is great that we finally get to start giving out the vaccine. Everyone was thrilled.”

HumanGood communities are enrolled with either CVS or Walgreens to participate in the Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program to have CVS or Walgreens administer the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to residents and team members.

As of Tuesday, Jan. 19, no residents and two staff members have COVID-19. All non-essential visitors are restricted from entering the community, and all staff members are screened upon entry to Plymouth Village. Staff members are restricted from traveling to communities for non-essential business purposes.

Burge said it is too soon to think about lifting some of Plymouth Village’s visitation restrictions.

“It depends on how quickly everyone gets vaccinated at the different levels of care,” she said.