KC metro long-term care facilities prep response to COVID-19 vaccine refusal

COVID-19 vaccine
Posted at 2:57 PM, Dec 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-20 18:59:38-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Nursing homes and senior living facilities, including those in the Kansas City metro, will soon get some relief in the form of a COVID-19 vaccine.

"Our residents are ready for life to change," Cassidy McCrite, director of operations at McCrite Plaza at Briarcliff, said.

McCrite said most of the senior-living community's 200-plus residents are excited about the vaccine.

"The faster we can get to a place where there is herd immunity, the faster we can get back to some normal living," McCrite said. "Even to a point where we can take our masks off."

Betty Jo Lewis, 89, lives at McCrite Plaza and said she will "absolutely" take the vaccine.

"I would be first in line if they’d let me," Lewis said.

But McCrite said for residents who decline a vaccine for the novel coronavirus, "multiple opportunities" for daily functions will be considered.

"Maybe a dining time where if you have received the vaccine, this time is open for you, and then a second dining time or maybe in a different area, to where if you don't mind has taken the vaccine or not, that would be a place where you could eat," McCrite said.

On the other side of the state line, Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly has an approach to the most at risk population.

"Well, obviously we would prefer that they not do that [decline the vaccine]," Kelly said. "But nobody will be forced to take this vaccine. I think probably the individual, long-term care facilities will determine how to best deal with that. It may be setting up, you know, [a] corridor for people who are not vaccinated, and others who are. So I think, well, we'll leave it to the long-term care facilities to figure out how to deal with that, should that occur."

McCrite said she wants to keep residents and safe and be one step closer to reuniting them with their loved ones.

"We love them and we care for them and that's what we do," McCrite said.