Long-term Care Facilities have started to vaccinate residents who are more vulnerable to COVID-19.
Ruth Tokumaru, is a resident at 15 Craigside Retirement Community in Nuuanu.
“I'm taking it to keep myself safe and to keep my relatives and friends safe, too, because keeping myself safe will keep them safe, too,” she said.
“We wanted to be part of the solution.”
Through the federal program, 15 Craigside partnered with Walgreens Pharmacy to administer the Moderna vaccine to its residents and employees.
Infection Preventionist Anna Gelino made sure residents had information about the vaccine.
“Those who are able to make decisions on their health care will first have to understand the risks and benefits of taking the vaccine,” she said.
“There's an emergency use authorization fact sheet, which we encourage everyone to review closely and ask the questions that they need to."
Residents who wanted to take the vaccine could then come down to the lobby on Tuesday and receive their first dose. Another will be required in 28 days.
Gelino explained residents are monitored for about 15 to 30 minutes after the injection to make sure there are no immediate side effects.
90% of residents and 70% of employees at 15 Craigside took the vaccine.
A clerk in the dining services department, Jasmine Hill-Oasay, thought that the facility’s openness was the key to having so many residents and employees opt to receive the vaccine.
“They did a Q&A session with our prevention specialists. It was open to residents and staff and they could ask whatever question without shame, without judgment,” she said.
“Having those things available to them, really was the foundation of letting them know how it's going to go.”
Tokumaru and her husband Clifford agreed that the communication from 15 Craigside had been effective.
“All the information that was available, they made sure that they get it to us right away. It's really up to date stuff, sometimes even before we see it on the media,” Clifford said.
David and Irene Nakamoto, also residents at 15 Craigside who were in line to take their vaccine, said the most difficult part of the pandemic was not being able to see friends and family except through Zoom.
Irene has stayed busy organizing residents to make paper cranes out of the white paper bags their food comes in, now that they can’t go to the dining hall.
“Our cranes have been put up here for love, hope and peace at this time of this terrible pandemic,” she said.
“It has brightened up Craigside.”
The Nakamotos were most looking forward to seeing family in-person and traveling once things are safe.
However, David explained his choice to take the vaccine was just one step to helping the community.
“Because the sacrifices and understanding of people before us were able to live the way we are today,” he said.
“The Japanese have saying, “hokagesamade” and that's because of the efforts of those before us were able to live the way we are able to live today. We all need to work together, stick together and take care of one another.”
Although those in long-term care facilities had priority, those over the age of 75 who are living independently will soon be able to receive a dose in the coming weeks.