Advertisement
  1. News
  2. /
  3. Health

Pinellas nursing home residents among first to get coronavirus vaccine

Carrington Place of St. Pete was one of 13 Pinellas County facilities to receive the vaccines on Wednesday.
The Department of Health in Pinellas County hosted an online media call on Wednesday regarding the first coronavirus vaccinations administered in a county nursing home. The center image, broadcast from the Carrington Place of St. Pete nursing home, shows resident Teresita Villanueva, 79, middle, and R.B. Bridges, CEO of Traditions Senior Management, right, who both received vaccinations during the call.
The Department of Health in Pinellas County hosted an online media call on Wednesday regarding the first coronavirus vaccinations administered in a county nursing home. The center image, broadcast from the Carrington Place of St. Pete nursing home, shows resident Teresita Villanueva, 79, middle, and R.B. Bridges, CEO of Traditions Senior Management, right, who both received vaccinations during the call. [ KAREN PETERSON | Times ]
Published Dec. 16, 2020|Updated Dec. 16, 2020

ST.PETERSBURG — In front of a lit Christmas tree and before a virtual audience, paramedics administered coronavirus vaccines on Wednesday to a resident and an administrator of a St. Petersburg nursing home.

On the count of three, vaccines were given to Teresita Villanueva, 79, a resident of Carrington Place of St. Pete, and to Chris Riggs, an administrator at the home.

“It’s as easy as that,” Riggs told the live-streamed audience of local public health officials and members of the media.

Carrington Place of St. Pete was among the first nursing homes in the state to receive vaccinations for residents and staff members — a priority population.

Long-term care facilities in Pinellas and Broward counties were chosen as pilot sites for the Pfizer vaccine, a program announced by Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday. Strike teams set up by the state to administer the vaccine in the next few weeks have been allocated about 21,000 doses, with Pinellas set to receive about half, according to Pinellas County health officials.

Thirteen of the county’s nursing homes received vaccinations on Wednesday, said Dr. Ulyee Choe, of the Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County. All of the county’s 68 nursing homes will receive vaccinations over the next five days, he said.

“I did have an opportunity to visit a few of the sites this morning and was impressed by how smoothly things were going at those facilities,” Choe said.

Residents and staff members of other long-term care facilities will receive the vaccine at a later date, Choe said. They are not required to get the shots.

Choe said the number who have signed the consent form to receive the vaccine ranged from more than 50 percent at some homes to more than 80 percent at others.

Florida’s first shipment on Monday of the Pfizer vaccine included a delivery to Tampa General Hospital, which has been vaccinating its staff and has shared doses with other Tampa Bay hospitals.

Florida was scheduled to receive about 180,000 doses of the coronavirus vaccines this week, the Tampa Bay Times reported Monday. The state planned to route about 80,000 of those doses through CVS and Walgreens pharmacies and the state Department of Health to vaccinate residents and staff of long-term care facilities.

By Wednesday morning, the Department of Health in Pinellas County had received 10,700 doses for long-term care facilities, said Tom Iovino, a spokesman for the Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County.

Some facilities are still working to get consent forms properly filled out, Iovino said. Some residents must have a family member give consent if they’re unable to provide their own.

Facilities were required earlier this month to register with Walgreens or CVS for the vaccinations through a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention pharmacy partnership program, according to Kristen Knapp, spokesperson for the Florida Health Care Association, a trade group representing nursing homes. Pharmacists were expected to administer the vaccines to staff and residents onsite at the facilities, she said.

Keep up with Tampa Bay’s top headlines

Keep up with Tampa Bay’s top headlines

Subscribe to our free DayStarter newsletter

We’ll deliver the latest news and information you need to know every weekday morning.

You’re all signed up!

Want more of our free, weekly newsletters in your inbox? Let’s get started.

Explore all your options

As of September, Florida had 145,563 residents and 222,541 staff members in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, according to the state Department of Health.

Tampa Bay Times reporters Megan Reeves and Christopher O’Donnell contributed to this report.

• • •

Tampa Bay Times coronavirus coverage

HOW CORONAVIRUS IS SPREADING IN FLORIDA: Find the latest numbers for your county, city or zip code.

VACCINES Q & A: Have coronavirus vaccine questions? We have answers, Florida.

FACE MASKS: Read the latest on guidelines, tips for comfort and long-term wear

GET THE DAYSTARTER MORNING UPDATE: Sign up to receive the most up-to-date information.

THE CORONAVIRUS SCRAPBOOK: We collected your stories, pictures, songs, recipes, journals and more to show what life has been like during the pandemic.

A TRIBUTE TO THE FLORIDIANS TAKEN BY THE CORONAVIRUS: They were parents and retirees, police officer and doctors, imperfect but loved deeply.

HAVE A TIP?: Send us confidential news tips

We’re working hard to bring you the latest news on the coronavirus in Florida. This effort takes a lot of resources to gather and update. If you haven’t already subscribed, please consider buying a print or digital subscription.

Advertisement

This site no longer supports your current browser. Please use a modern and up-to-date browser version for the best experience.

Chrome Firefox Safari Edge