Assisted living tenants to receive COVID-19 vaccine in next week

Magen David Adom launched a vaccination operation in assisted living facilities on Tuesday.

Elderly residents receive coronavirus vaccine at Mediterranean Towers assisted living, Dec. 22, 2020 (photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/ MAARIV)
Elderly residents receive coronavirus vaccine at Mediterranean Towers assisted living, Dec. 22, 2020
Israelis with disabilities and elderly people in nursing homes and assisted living residences are expected to receive the vaccine against the novel coronavirus within the next week.
Some 50,000 residents and over 30,000 staff members work and live in the 935 care facilities which are under the jurisdiction of the Labor and Welfare Ministry.
Magen David Adom announced on Tuesday that it was launching a special operation to vaccinate residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities on Wednesday, starting with the Mediterranean Towers assisted living facility in Ganei Tikva. Since the beginning of the outbreak, MDA has conducted over 1.4 million coronavirus tests in old age homes and assisted living facilities.
"The arrival of the vaccine in Israel and the Mediterranean Towers network is an important and exciting moment for us, which allows the world and us to see how life is going to return to normal," said CEO Doron Arnon. "Today we are starting the first vaccination campaign in Israel among assisted living facilities, a campaign in which about 1,000 of the tenants and our staff were vaccinated by Magen David Adom, in a fast and effective process."
"As Israel's national rescue organization that was the first at the forefront of the fight against the coronavirus, we are proud and excited to begin the vaccination campaign that is a light at the end of the tunnel, on the way to the end of the pandemic," said MDA director-general Eli Bin.
"This is a nationally important mission and I am sure that we will be able to quickly, efficiently and professionally reach all residents of the nursing homes and sheltered housing throughout the country in the near future – and, as the national rescue organization, help eradicate the plague and lead the coronavirus to its end in Israel," he said.
The ministry began working last week to create an exact mapping of the expected number of people to receive the vaccine in all their facilities. Many residents are unable to sign approval forms on their own so their guardians are required to sign for them, further complicating efforts to vaccinate the residents.
"The elderly population and some of the welfare populations are at high risk. We are preparing for an unprecedented operation, in collaboration with the Health Ministry, to vaccinate hundreds of thousands of residents and staff," said Labor and Welfare Minister Itzik Shmuli in a press release. "We are vigorously preparing for this important operation, which is critical both in preserving human life and in reducing the threat of health system failure."
Residents will receive a green passport one week after receiving the second dose of the coronavirus vaccine that will exempt them from the requirement to quarantine, allowing them to expand their meetings with family members.
"The tens of thousands of residents in our facilities are among the populations that are defined as at risk, including senior citizens and people with disabilities, as well as people with other medical complexities," said Dr. Sagit Arbel-Alon, chief medical officer at the Labor and Welfare Ministry.
"We are working in collaboration with the Health Ministry to ensure that the residents and caregivers will be among the first to receive the vaccines," she said. "The decree of isolation is difficult for everyone and all the more so for tenants in out-of-home settings."
Arbel-Alon stressed that the coronavirus crisis has been a significant challenge for residents and that the vaccine will allow a gradual transition to a new routine for them and significantly improve their quality of life.