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‘It’s a shot of hope’ | COVID-19 vaccine arrives at Maryland long-term care facilities

More doses are on the way to D.C., Maryland, and Virginia a the newly approved Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are shipped out.

PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY, Md. — The long awaited COVID-19 vaccine is finally coming to long-term care facilities in Maryland.

On Saturday, Collington Care Facility in Prince George’s County received enough doses to inoculate some of its staff and residents. Collington is Prince George’s County’s only continuing care retirement community.

“We got a call from CVS [last] Friday night and they gave us all of the instructions about what we had to do to get ready for them today. It was a very short timeframe, so we got busy very quickly getting all of our data into the system,” Collington CEO Ann Gillespie said. “We have over 110 of our team members being vaccinated today and 98% of nursing home and assisted living residents."

On Wednesday, CVS pharmacy teams began bringing the Moderna vaccine into 1,775 Maryland nursing homes and long-term care facilities and administering the inoculations to at least 107,000 residents and staff.

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“It's coming at a perfect time. Anytime would have been good, but it's poetic almost that it's at the end of the year and we're going to start 2021 having gone through a very dark tunnel for 10 months, but we're on the other side of it now,” Gillespie said. "It's a shot of hope."

At Collington, Gillespie said the care facility saw a spike of COVID-19 cases in early December following the Thanksgiving holiday. The facility reported 16 of its 380 residents tested positive for the virus. Only five of the 16 had symptoms, according to the facility.

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“It’s been a hard 10 months,” Collington COO Megan Barbour said. “Today is the day looking back over the 10 months of really making sure you know we're washing our hands, we're wearing masks, we're doing all the infection control procedures properly to really mitigate the virus, and today brings us the hope that we've been working for the last 10 months.”

Credit: Megan Barbour

Barbour said she got the vaccine Saturday for her residents and team members. She said some people clapped when they came in the room for the vaccine. For residents getting the vaccine Saturday, she said CVS Pharmacy members would go room to room for residents to be inoculated.

“One resident told me that this reminded her of something she had encountered early in life where she was the pioneer for something similar in a vaccine, and that she was just so excited to get to be a pioneer again,” Barbour said.

Maryland has said it expects to get around 100,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine and Virginia has ordered 146,400 doses of the vaccine. On Monday, Dr. Ankoor Shah, interim principal deputy director of DC Health, said the city was expecting to get 12,600 doses of the Moderna vaccine and 4,700 more doses of the Pfizer vaccine this week.

4,500 of those doses will be distributed to more than 30 long-term care facilities across DC, according to DC health officials.

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