WAUSAU – North Central Health Care has begun preparations to administer the COVID-19 vaccine to residents of Mount View Care Center in Wausau and Pine Crest Nursing Home in Merrill, as well as healthcare personnel at each location, NCHC announced this week.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that when a COVID-19 vaccine is authorized by the Food and Drug Administration, vaccination in the initial phase of the COVID-19 vaccination program should be offered to both health care personnel and residents of long term care facilities.

Michael Loy

“NCHC will continue to work diligently on meeting and exceeding infection prevention standards within our facilities, even after a vaccine is administered,” said Michael Loy, CEO of NCHC, in a news release. “We know the COVID-19 virus, as well as other illnesses like influenza, can be deadly, especially for those with compromised health and our elderly.

“Our staff have worked very hard to prevent the spread of illness within our facilities and we will continue to do so by following the recommendations set by the CDC to administer the COVID-19 vaccine to our residents and staff.”

The vaccine program will unfold in phases, according to NCHC. Walgreen’s will be NCHC’s primary vendor to manage all aspects of the vaccine administration for its residents and staff in long term care facilities. NCHC also has been approved to be its own vaccinators if the need does arise.

Social work staff at both nursing homes have begun communication with residents and representatives and are working to secure consent or declination forms for the 219 residents currently cared for within the two facilities. Administration of the vaccine will be performed in a tiered approach, with nursing home residents receiving the vaccine first, following by direct care staff at each facility.

NCHC is in the process of creating videos, virtual meetings and creating an online resource library online for residents, families and staff to help answer questions they may have about the Covid-19 vaccine. In March, NCHC created a dedicated online page at www.norcen.org/Family to answer questions and provide updates to families about operations, frequently asked questions and resources.