COVID-19 vaccine rollout for Sun Prairie senior residents

Harry Parr (above), along with his wife Diana, received the COVID-19 vaccine Wednesday at the Hyland Park campus in Sun Prairie.

Most people don’t look forward to a shot, but Diana and Harry Parr were ready Wednesday morning to get their COVID-19 vaccine.

The Sun Prairie residents, both 84, were one of the first city residents to be vaccinated against the virus that has killed 400,000 Americans and sickened even more.

Diana thanked the nurse after her shot. “It really means a lot to me getting this vaccination. It makes me feel a lot better, a lot safer.”

Hyland Park campus residents and staff were immunized on Wednesday, with 100 percent of residents choosing to receive the vaccination, said Renee Sidebottom, RN, Executive Director of Capri Senior Communities.

“This is a great day for us,” Sidebottom said. “We’ve been through a hard time these last nine months. Many of our folks haven’t been able to see much of their loved ones. So, this is the light at the end of the tunnel.”

Sun Prairie-based O’Connell Pharmacy’s long-term care staff administered the Pfizer vaccination at Hyland Park, one of 19 facilities that the pharmacy has serviced since receiving its first doses last week.

With the 1A phase of healthcare workers, paramedics, and police officers already getting the COVID-19 vaccine, now the state is deciding who is next in line, prioritizing groups that are at high risk for exposure.

The State Disaster Medical Advisory Committee on Wednesday recommended that K-12 teachers, grocery store workers, bus drivers, prisoners and correctional officers, among others, be included in 1B.

The committee received pushback earlier this week when grocery store workers were pushed off the 1B vaccine rollout. Clint Woodman, president of Woodman’s Market, said the company has 3,000 Wisconsin employees, with more than 200 in Sun Prairie, and they have been out facing the public since the safer-at-home this spring and throughout the other emergency order roll-outs.

Woodman and Woodman’s employees sent letters to the committee urging them to reconsider and on Wednesday, after receiving letters from other Wisconsin grocers, added food chain workers back on the 1B status.

“They made the right decision,” Woodman said. “Grocery store workers were being called heroes during the safer-at-home order, and worked through that, so to not include them would have been a slight.”

Wisconsin Department of Health Services will need to approve the State Disaster Medical Advisory Committee recommendations.

Adults 65 years and older will be able to get the vaccines starting Jan. 25. The DHS reported that Wisconsin receives around 70,000 first-dose vaccines per week from the federal government and said it will take time to vaccinated the approximately 700,000 in that 65 plus age range.

Wisconsin DHS reported that 248,185 COVID-19 vaccines were administered as of Jan. 19, with 45,618 people completing the series.

Hyland Park residents in Sun Prairie are expected to get the second dose of the vaccine in three weeks. Even when the vaccines are completed, Sidebottom said the facility is under the direction of the Department of Health Services and will follow its guidelines to start relaxing COVID-19 restrictions.

“It will be baby steps,” Sidebottom said, “before things get back to normal.”

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