MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN) – Norlite Nursing Center was one of many facilities that were hit hard with COVID-19 this year.
On Thursday, a U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisory panel recommended approval for one of the vaccines that could be ready for distribution as early as next week.
In Phase 1 of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services vaccine distributions includes paid and unpaid persons serving in health care settings, as well as residents of long-term care facilities.
“Of course, skilled nursing facilities, as most people are aware, while we have less than one percent of the U.S. population, we represent more than 42 percent of the COVID mortalities throughout the pandemic. So there’s a reason we’re being tapped first,” said Wayne Johnson, administrator for Norlite Nursing Center.
The facility will have three separate clinics once the vaccination is available to them.
“The first one will be for the masses, almost anyone willing and consented to receive the vaccine. The second one will be 21 days later where we’ll catch the second dose for everybody or for the couple of individuals who said ‘You know, I wasn’t comfortable three weeks ago but now I’m feeling a little more up to it.’ And then the third one will be for the second dose of anyone who jumped on in clinic two.”
Johnson is hopeful to have the first round of vaccinations completed before Christmas.
“Certainly it’s a very exciting opportunity, a very special opportunity for us to drastically reduce that risk and ideally put the pandemic behind us. This is a major step in the game here.”