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Long-Term Care In Arizona Facilities Gearing Up For First Dose Of COVID-19 Vaccine

Health care professionals in Arizona are already getting the coronavirus vaccine. And residents and staff at long-term care facilities will be next. KJZZ talked to one nursing home operator about how they’re getting ready.

Jeffreys Barrett is the executive director of Wellsprings Therapy Center of Gilbert. It’s a short-term rehab, and residents stay anywhere between 20 and 120 days.

"So how this is going to impact our population more so is that they may receive their first dose of the vaccine here as an inpatient. And then they'll be given the vaccine card, we understand, by Walgreens," Barrett said. 

And once the second dose is available, he says, residents will go back to the center for that. Barrett’s facility is one of roughly 2,000 skilled nursing and assisted-living facilities that are working with pharmacy chains, like Walgreens and CVS, to administer the coronavirus vaccine to staff and residents.  

Still, while some are excited and see the shot as a light at the end of the tunnel, others have concerns among some staff.

"So in order to talk with folks, that that do have that concern that it really seems like this vaccine was rushed, I'm carrying the conversation around towards, it's been an efficient process to develop this vaccine," said Barrett.

Barrett says he’s also addressing fears of potential side effects. The coronavirus vaccine is not mandatory for staff or residents at this time. 

→  Get The Latest News On COVID-19 In Arizona 

KJZZ senior field correspondent Kathy Ritchie has 20 years of experience reporting and writing stories for national and local media outlets — nearly a decade of it has been spent in public media.