Rose Villa becomes first senior living facility to receive Covid-19 vaccine in Oregon

December 21, 2020 | 

Portland Business Journal - Rose Villa becomes first senior living facility to receive Covid-19 vaccine in Oregon

By Elizabeth Hayes  – Staff Reporter, Portland Business Journal
Dec 21, 2020

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Hope came to Rose Villa Senior Living in Oak Grove on Monday, as residents and staff became the first at a long-term care facility to receive the Covid-19 vaccine.

Starting at 10 a.m., 35 nursing home residents began receiving the Pfizer Inc. vaccine, followed by 145 staff members.

“We may as well have been drinking Champagne since 8 this morning,” said Vassar Byrd, Rose Villa’s CEO. “The last nine months have been an unrelenting slog of hard choices, locking things down, staying safe, everyone vigilant, and now it seems like there’s a light on the horizon. It’s a great feeling.”

Oregon health officials expect to receive enough vaccine doses from Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) and Moderna Inc. (NASDAQ: MRNA) to vaccinate 100,000 health care workers and long term care residents and staff starting this month. Staff at Legacy Health, OHSU Hospital and Kaiser Permanente were among the first frontline hospital workers to be vaccinated last week.

The first vaccinations came as Oregon passed the grim milestone of 100,000 infections. There have been 1,341 deaths, mostly concentrated among older people and those with underlying conditions.

CVS Health is administering the vaccine at more than 40,000 long-term care facilities across the country, with 457 skilled nursing and assisted living facilities to receive the vaccine across Oregon starting Monday.

In addition to the 35 nursing home residents, Rose Villa is also home to more than 300 residents in independent living. It’s not clear when they will receive vaccines, though those who are 65 and older are among the priority groups.

Byrd said the mood on the campus has been up and down the past nine months since the pandemic took hold. The facility installed a plexiglass wall to protect the nursing home residents but still allow them to see visitors.

Those in independent living have been allowed visitors but have been urged to do so safely. Residents have held Zoom parties.

“We’re relying on people to act in the best interests of the community,” Byrd said. “It’s been a huge grind, but the vaccine has made it more exciting.”