A Shot in the Arm: COVID-19 Vaccinations Continue at Judson

From extensive pre-vaccine education to detailed clinic-day schedules, the health services team at Judson worked diligently this past winter to create a timely, efficient and effective rollout.

Proactively managing vaccination clinics for three campuses and the Judson at Home program was an enormous logistical challenge, says Cindy Struk, Judson’s Vice President for Health Services. Nonetheless, Judson’s first vaccination clinic – held December 28, at Judson Park – came off without a hitch.

“Since then, we have arranged for three vaccination clinics on each campus,” Cindy says, “and we have been able to offer the vaccine to staff, volunteers, our artist-in-residence students, contracted vendors, caregivers hired by families, and community members who haven’t yet moved in but are committed to doing so – in other words, anyone who works or lives on any of our three campuses, plus our Judson at Home members, too!”

Molly Downing is one Judson resident who received her vaccine in early January. “There was no question that I would get it once it was established it as safe,” Molly says. “And everything at South Franklin Circle was so well organized that we never even had to wait in line.”

In fact, the process practically turned into a party. “We had all been given little post-it notes telling us what time we could leave,” Molly says, referring to the mandatory post-vaccine wait. “But everybody was so excited to be together that, when our times were up, none of us left the room!

“It became a celebration of community,” she says, “and a celebration of our relief at getting that shot under our belts and into our arms!”

Despite some initial qualms, staff member Ronnell Smith, dietary chef-supervisor at Crane House, at South Franklin Circle, also received the vaccine. “At first, I felt the speed of the development process was just too fast,” he says. But the more he learned about it, the more confident he became of its safety. “And as an essential worker, I figured I should do what I can to protect my family and my residents.

Today, Ronnell says, he’s confident he made the right decision. “If we are ever going to get back to normalcy, it starts with the vaccine.”

For Nadine Tolbert, a State Tested Nursing Assistant (STNA) with a 20-year career at Judson, the COVID vaccine was like the answer to a prayer. After missing out on a relationship with her own grandparents, Nadine says she was determined to protect her grandchildren from the same fate.

“When the vaccine became available, I had no hesitation,” she says. “I didn’t want my grandchildren to suffer like I did.”

And of course, Cindy Struk got her vaccine, too. “The biggest positive for me was the feeling I could now work with our residents, who are at very high risk, and we would all be safer,” she says.

“I think this has been the most challenging thing I have ever done in my career,” Cindy adds. “It was an awesome responsibility keeping everyone safe. So finally getting to the other side?

“It has felt like the most incredible success of all.”

To learn more about Judson’s COVID-19 response, click here.

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