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Through a partnership with Walgreens, Volunteers of America – sponsors of Gulf Coast Village and Senior Choice at Home – was able to secure vaccines at no cost to residents and members. Each person was assigned appointment times to eliminate the potential for long waits.
"We have gone through an incredible journey since March 12," said Kevin Ahmadi, area director of operations for Volunteers of America. "We have done an amazing job mitigating the risk, keeping the virus out of our community and away from our residents."
Gulf Coast Village was among the first senior communities in Florida to restrict campus access and implement new safety protocols, which included sanitization procedures, employee health screenings and requirements for wearing personal protective equipment.
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The latest step was securing vaccines for all residents and members.
Lois Faulkner was the first Senior Choice at Home member to receive the vaccine on Wednesday, saying the process was both smooth and pain-free.
"We've been wanting to get the vaccine primarily to be safe, to be able to go see our family sometime," Faulkner said.
An hour later, Diane Wolfe became the first Gulf Coast Village resident to be vaccinated. She receives her annual flu shot when Walgreens makes house calls to the community, and knew that strong relationship would help bring the COVID-19 vaccine to Gulf Coast Village. Wolfe said she's remained in good health during the pandemic because the community has been vigilant about resident and staff safety.
"As careful as we have been here, I was not worried that I was going to get sick," Wolfe said.
Gulf Coast Village is Cape Coral's premier Continuing Care Retirement Community and offers independent living, assisted living, specialized memory support, skilled nursing, home health and rehabilitation services. Senior Choice at Home is a continuing care at home program that provides comprehensive long-term care and personal concierge care services for older adults who wish to live independently at home.
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Ahmadi said his New Year's wish for 2021 was for "herd immunity." As someone who works in the health sector, Ahmadi said it was important to receive the vaccine to help protect himself and others.
"It was painless. I didn't even feel the needle," Ahmadi said. "I encourage everyone in the medical community to seek the opportunity to be vaccinated so that we can move forward and hopefully get back to some level of normalcy in communities around this country."
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