President’s Message: COVID-19 Vaccines

collage of people getting covid vaccine

Dear friends of RVNAhealth,

In mid January, RVNAhealth began administering COVID-19 vaccines to members of our communities, following the phases outlined by the State of CT

Theresa Santoro, RVNAhealth President & CEO, receiving her COVID-19 vaccine. Not only did Theresa receive the vaccine, she also administers it.

Since then, we have learned a lot and we are proud of the work that we have done. Our vaccination clinics, conducted at Yanity Gym in partnership with the Town of Ridgefield, and in other towns in partnership with those municipalities, have been organized, safe, and comfortable.  Our community health team has excelled, volunteers have been generous and intelligent, and the mood of the clinics has been overwhelmingly positive. Our ‘vaccinees’ are glad to be there and appreciative of this next step in addressing COVID-19.  

And while we are pleased with our operation, and look forward to administering second doses soon, and vaccinating more and more members of our communities as the phases roll out, we also want to explain the process and our role in it.

This is important to us because in recent weeks we have witnessed first-hand the intense frustration of individuals with the whole process — individuals unable to navigate Vaccine Administration Management System (VAMS); unable to secure an appointment at all; distressed with the phased rollout which does not allow for worthy exceptions; or individuals simply unable to figure out how to get a vaccine when one is 89 years old and doesn’t have a computer. For many, this has been a time of high anxiety.  

RVNAhealth is accustomed to helping people. Either ourselves, or by directing people to the help they need. In the COVID-19 vaccine effort, we have worked closely with resources in many municipalities to find our most vulnerable populations, and ensure that individuals without access to computers or internet are informed and included. We have trained the dedicated Town of Ridgefield CERT volunteers on the intricacies of VAMS, so that they can operate a Helpline to guide individuals through the VAMS process.  We have focused on our role and specialty — the procuring and administration of the COVID-19 vaccines and the securing of second dose appointments — while helping to construct a viable process for the individuals we serve.  We continue to listen, refine, and tweak and it gets a little better every day.

We thank and applaud those we are partnering with for their investment, time, and dedication to this initiative. And we thank the individuals who have endured through the process, or who are patiently waiting their turns to get vaccinated.  The mass vaccination of a population during a pandemic is an immense responsibility. Working together, we are headed in the right direction.

Theresa Santoro, MSN, RN, CHCA
President & CEO, RVNAhealth

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