Residents and Employees of CLR Receive Vaccine
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Residents and Employees of CLR Receive Vaccine

BENNINGTON, VT—December 22, 2020—The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, which has received emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, arrived at the Centers for Living and Rehabilitation (CLR), part of Southwestern Vermont Health Care (SVHC), today. The vaccine was administered by Walgreens Pharmacy. This is the first of three clinics that will be held to ensure that the entire staff and resident population receives two shots, as is recommended to achieve immunity.

The first vaccines were given to CLR Resident Thomas McAndrews and Jennifer George, LNA. Both volunteered to be the first to receive the vaccine. An additional 130 healthcare workers and residents received the vaccine throughout the day.   

“The pandemic has been a very long, lonely time for many of our residents,” said Suzanne Anair, CLR’s administrator. “We are overjoyed to receive the vaccine and to begin putting an end to the fear and isolation that the pandemic has caused.”

Vaccine information is available on the health system’s website, It includes the phased vaccination plan, which indicates that healthcare workers who have direct contact with COVID-19 patients and adults who live in long-term care settings will be the first to be vaccinated, followed by first responders, essential workers, adults with high-risk medical conditions, and adults over the age of 65.

Phase II, which is anticipated to launch by the end of February, includes homeless and disabled populations and those who live and work in congregant settings, like group homes and prisons. Phase III includes the general population and is expected to begin by April. As vaccines are made available, the website will also include who can get a vaccine and how to schedule. Those who have questions may call the COVID-19 Hotline at 802-440-8844.

“I was really looking forward to this, since I heard about it on T.V.,” McAndrews, said. An Adams, Mass.-native, McAndrews recognized the name of the vaccine manufacturer, Pfizer, from their operation in the area. “To think they came up with the vaccine… I like that.”  After receiving the shot, McAndrews quipped. “Barely felt it. That’s it?”

Jennifer George, LNA, of Bennington has always been apprehensive about shots, “even the flu shot,” she said. After receiving the shot, she exhaled. “It’s okay. I am better now.” Her co-workers gave her a small cheer when it was done.

Mask wearing, distancing, handwashing, and testing will continue to be important until after 75 percent of the population has been vaccinated. Public health experts project that restrictions could be lifted as early as this fall.

Southwestern Vermont Health Care (SVHC) is a comprehensive, preeminent, health care system providing exceptional, convenient, and affordable care to the communities of Bennington and Windham Counties of Vermont, eastern Rensselaer and Washington Counties of New York, and northern Berkshire County in Massachusetts. SVHC includes Southwestern Vermont Medical Center (SVMC), Southwestern Vermont Regional Cancer Center, the Centers for Living and Rehabilitation, and the SVHC Foundation. SVMC includes 25 primary and specialty care practices.

Southwestern Vermont Health Care is among the most lauded small rural health systems in the nation. It ranked forth nationwide for the value of care it provides by the Lown Institute Hospital Index. It is a four-time recipient of the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Magnet® recognition for nursing excellence. It has also received the highest marks possible from The Joint Commission, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and the Leapfrog Group.  

Southwestern Vermont Medical Center provides exceptional care without discriminating on the basis of an individual’s age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture, language, physical or mental disability, socioeconomic status, sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression. Language assistance services, free of charge, are available at 1-800-367-9559.

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