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COVID booster shots given at area nursing homes

Published: Oct. 20, 2021 at 5:34 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - If there’s a case to be made for getting a COVID-19 booster shot, local leaders say look no further than what’s happening at Samaritan Health.

Breakthrough cases where staff and patients, who were vaccinated months ago, are now testing positive for COVID, though few are showing symptoms.

The situation is serious enough that at Samaritan Keep Home, it’s being called an outbreak.

At SKH, 31 residents tested positive for COVID-19, the highest number of cases at once since the pandemic began.

So, booster shots that were scheduled for next week were administered Wednesday.

Booster shots were also given at Samaritan’s Summit Village, where three staff members in the skilled nursing area recently tested positive for COVID-19.

“It is clear that the efficacy of the vaccines wane over time. That’s why you’re seeing more conversation in terms of a third dose,” said Jefferson County Board of Legislators Chairman Scott Gray.

That, Gray says, paints a picture of what’s to come.

“Clearly, there’s more data coming in that shows over a period of time that a booster shot is required,” he said.

Meanwhile, Carthage Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing, which has no COVID cases, is preparing to give its boosters. To stay ahead of the game, it’s rolling out the shots at the end of this week into next week.

“That’s why people get the flu shot every year, to stay ahead of it so they don’t get sick. It’s the same mentality, and it’s a mentality that works,” said Jeffrey Jacomawitz, director of corporate communications.

Other facilities like United Helpers in St. Lawrence County and Lewis County Residential Health Care Facility have already held their clinics.

“We gave ours January 24 and January 25. So, we had a lot of them that received them months and months ago. They’re saying that after six months, you should get your booster shot,” said Debra Wurz, United Helpers nursing home administrator.

A spokesperson for United Helpers says the facility doesn’t have any active cases of COVID-19 and the 126 residents at its nursing home and assisted living facility have gotten the shot.

A spokesperson for Samaritan said 95 people got the booster Wednesday at Summit Village. At Samaritan Keep Home, 146 booster shots were administered.

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