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Norfolk long-term care facility to begin coronavirus vaccinations in January

There’s still some hesitancy among residents and employees when it comes to getting the shot.

NORFOLK, Va. — Long-term care facilities are next up to receive deliveries of the COVID-19 vaccine but there is a reluctance among some people to get the vaccine.

President and CEO of Lake Taylor Transitional Care Hospital, Tom Orsini said about 85 percent of employees and patients there want the shot.

The Virginia Health Department's Deputy Commissioner for Population Health Dr. Laurie Forlano said doses will arrive at long-term care facilities in a matter of days. 

“The people that live and work in long term care facilities have definitely been disproportionally impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic," Forlano said. “The majority of long-term care facilities -- and when I use that term, it’s mostly nursing homes, that’s where we’ll start, assisted nursing facilities etc. -- they’ll start receiving the vaccine as of December 28th." 

The next step? Getting people to sign up for the shot.  

“Of course we thought with healthcare workers, we’re exposed to the virus every day, we thought we’d get 100 percent participation. But we’re not, we’re getting around 85 percent," Orsini said.

Orsini noted the percentage of people who don’t want the shot, is in line with a lot of other healthcare facilities. Sentara officials said Monday that about 85 percent of their frontline workers expressed interest in the vaccine.

“I think the CDC sees that and they’re sending us education materials and promotional materials so we can talk to those other 15 percent,” Orsini said. 

Alongside the CDC, Orsini said his team is working to answer questions and make sure everyone has the right information.

“Dispel whatever questions they might have, whether they’ve seen it on social media, in the news, who knows," he said. “We’re hopeful. It’s like anything new, some will say, ‘Well I don’t want to take it this time, maybe I’ll take it next time they offer it.’ Whelp, again, no better time like the present to take the vaccine. So we’re trying to encourage everyone.”  

Orisini said he's glad his facility is gearing up to receive the vaccine. They're working with CVS Omnicare to distribute it.

“We’re actually getting paperwork now from our facilitators, CVS pharmacy," he said. "So it’s really started to come to life.”  

Forlano said some vaccine doses will be shipped directly to nursing homes that have the ultra-cold freezers necessary to store the vaccine. The rest will be stored at pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens.