April 12, 2024
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Daughters of Miriam Sees Some Relief

(Courtesy of Daughters of Miriam) Long-term care facilities and seniors have been among the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic but now, relief has finally arrived as these populations are the first in New Jersey to receive the FDA-approved vaccines against the virus. On January 5, nursing home residents, subacute patients, apartment tenants and staff at Daughters of Miriam Center/The Gallen Institute in Clifton received their first dose of the two-dosage COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine. Trained personnel from CVS Health scheduled a two-day vaccine blitz at the Center with over 90% of the seniors in the nursing home and in the Miriam Apartments receiving the vaccine as part of the priority Phase 1a group.

Seniors and staff at Daughters of Miriam Center have been eagerly awaiting the vaccine in anticipation of an end of the coronavirus pandemic. Due to health and safety measures, the Center has had restricted visitation for 10 months, with seniors unable to see their loved ones face-to-face, to hug or even to hold their hands. These restrictions have taken a tremendous emotional toll on the residents, patients, tenants and their families. It is everyone’s hope that as more New Jersey residents are vaccinated, these restrictions will be eased and families can once again be united.

“As an essential caregiver for my mom, I am ecstatic that Daughters of Miriam Center gave the vaccine to my mom to keep her safe from the virus,” said Debra Ross, who acts as the primary caregiver to her mother, resident Ella Ross. “The residents have suffered enough from isolation, but it is a comfort to me to know that she is now safe from COVID.”

Staff at the Center have also experienced immense challenges as they continue to provide comprehensive services to the seniors while dealing with all the professional and personal trials brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Nurses, certified nursing assistants, dietary aides, housekeepers, rehabilitation staff and social workers have all shown up, day after day during this crisis, putting themselves at risk as they care for the frail seniors in their charge. As part of the Phase 1a group, Center employees have also been inoculated.

Daughters of Miriam Center’s Chief Executive Officer Frank DaSilva said: “Similar to hospitals, our staff have been on the frontlines of this pandemic from Day One and have had to sacrifice their own individual concerns to ensure that our residents and tenants were safe and well cared for. This vaccine gives everyone hope that we will soon see an end to this crisis.”

Vaccinating the nursing home residents, sub-acute patients and senior apartment tenants was the priority for the CVS team, who went floor-by-floor to inoculate the seniors in their rooms and apartments. Daughters of Miriam Center and Apartment staff were the last group to be immunized. Myrna Gomez, Daughters of Miriam Center Director of Social Services, received her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and exclaimed, “This pandemic has been a traumatic and painful experience for all of us. As an employee of Daughters of Miriam Center, taking the vaccine makes me feel self-assured that I am keeping our residents safe and that I am making history by helping to eradicate this dreadful disease.”

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