When the COVID-19 vaccine first became available, the Visiting Nurse Association of Greater St. Louis (VNA) was quick to answer the call to start vaccinating those who were eligible. By the end of Friday, March 26, 2021, VNA will have administered 8,600 vaccines.
VNA’s main priority when it comes to vaccinations has been healthcare providers who are not associated with large hospitals or healthcare systems and often get overlooked. The team has worked with private hospice providers, home healthcare and private duty organizations.
VNA is prioritizing who gets vaccines by following the tiers outlined by the government. When organizations call in or sign up online, they are added to a running list which is divided by appropriate tiers. VNA then works from the top tiers down.
As part of their effort to vaccinate as many healthcare workers as they can, VNA held two large vaccination events at The Lodge in Des Peres. At the first event, they were able to administer over 700 shots, and almost 500 shots were administered at the second.
“The importance of healthcare providers receiving COVID-19 vaccinations is not only to protect themselves, but to help protect them from spreading the virus when they’re in so many different homes,” says Tonya Stacy, Director of Vaccination & Wellness Services.
Healthcare workers receiving the vaccinations are incredibly grateful for the opportunity. “I can tell you, I’ve seen more people tear up and more people having their pictures taken so they can post it when they get their vaccination,” says Tonya. “The enthusiasm and gratitude from some of these healthcare providers is incredible.”
Looking toward the future, vaccination efforts all depend on when VNA receives vaccines from the state. If those continue to come, they will continue to schedule clinics, working through tiers as the government releases them. The team is also preparing for the next tier, which included educators. One school clinic has already been completed.
“I am extremely impressed by the VNA nurses and VNA volunteer nurses who really want to do anything they can do to help make sure that people get vaccinated,” says Tonya. “It’s just amazing to me that so many nurses want to volunteer their time or come out of retirement and do anything they can to vaccinate people.”
If your organization is interested in registering to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, sign up at our website.