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St. Louis County Takes COVID-19 Vaccine To Residents Of Independent Living Facilities

Coronavirus vaccines will soon be available in the St. Louis area. The vaccine can prevent people from developing the COVID-19 illness.
David Kovaluk
St. Louis Public Radio
St. Louis County officials are distributing the COVID-19 vaccine to residents and workers of group homes and independent living facilities.

St. Louis County officials are distributing the COVID-19 vaccine to residents and workers of group homes and independent living facilities.

The county’s Department of Emergency Management and county fire departments are prioritizing facilities that didn’t qualify for the federal vaccination program, County Executive Sam Page said this week.

That program partnered pharmacies with senior facilities and nursing homes to vaccinate residents, but as many as 1,000 residents in area group homes have not been vaccinated, Page said.

“Most residents in St. Louis County have already received vaccines from the federal vaccination program driven by their long-term pharmacy provider,” he said. “St. Louis County is working to address those that have been missed.”

Fire district personnel began vaccinating residents last month, Page said. Some residents were transferred to vaccination centers, while others will be vaccinated by county mobile EMS units.

Residents and staff at Concordia House Apartments were vaccinated by fire district and county health department personnel this week.

Property manager Pam Killian said many of the 78 residents there worried they were being overlooked. She said health officials should prioritize residents of independent living homes and homebound residents because many can’t get to vaccination centers.

“A lot of people have no means of getting to a place to get a shot, not everyone drives here,” Killian said. “And it's really impossible for a lot of my seniors to be able to drive far away to get a shot.”

Fire district personnel and the county health workers vaccinated most residents and staff, and that brought a sense of relief to residents who were worried about catching the virus over the last year, Killian said.

Many residents have spent months in isolation to avoid catching and spreading the disease, she said.

Killian asked county officials to distribute the vaccine at Concordia House Apartments a few weeks ago and has been in contact with health officials since then. She’s pleased the county is vaccinating more residents but wishes many of the residents were vaccinated in an earlier tier.

“They’re starting to recognize and cover these facilities of people that should have gotten the vaccine earlier than now,” Killian said. “But I think the biggest problem that they’re going to have to deal with and solve is the homebound.”

County officials say they’ll also focus on people who can’t leave their homes. A health department spokesperson said more details will be released soon.

Follow Chad on Twitter: @iamcdavis

Chad is a general assignment reporter at St. Louis Public Radio.