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Patti Hayes of Lynchburg Nursing Center, still wearing a face-shield, displays her “I took one for the team” sticker after getting her second COVID-19 vaccination as part of a series of inoculations that saw most of the residents and employees there get the vaccine.

Lynchburg Nursing Center started the process of vaccinating their residents and associates with FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccines on Sunday, Jan. 3, and the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccines was administered on Sunday, Jan. 31.

The vaccines are being administered to Life Care associates and residents by Life Care’s pharmacy partner CVS. Injection-certified pharmacists from CVS will administer the vaccines, like getting a flu shot at your local CVS. Lynchburg Nursing Center is one of 28 Life Care Centers of America facilities in Tennessee.

“I think everyone in the skilled nursing industry is thankful that a vaccine is available and being administered, and we are thrilled that vaccinations are underway at our facility” said Cheryl Pendergrass, executive director of Lynchburg Nursing Center. “It’s an understatement to say this has been a difficult year, but the vaccine offers hope as we move forward.”

The current FDA-authorized vaccines require two doses, and it is imperative that both doses are administered in accordance with timelines provided by the manufacturer. The vaccine is free to residents and associates, but the decision to take the vaccine will be an individual one.

“We are encouraging all residents and associates to take advantage of the FDA-authorized vaccines, but we are not requiring it,” said Pendergrass. “We believe it is vital that each individual resident and/or their legal representative make informed decisions about the healthcare the resident receives, and we encourage them to consult with their primary physician for guidance.”

Pendergrass emphasized that the availability of a vaccine is not the end of the fight against COVID-19, which has attacked the most vulnerable members of society across the country for the past 10 months. Life Care facilities will maintain stringent safety measures and will continue to follow all guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and state and local public health agencies.

“Our associates at Life Care will enter the new year as diligent as ever to protect our residents and associates,” said Pendergrass. “The safety measures we have put in place, combined with the vaccine, will allow our facilities to continue to provide a high level of service in a safe environment that provides peace of mind to our residents and their families.”