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COVID-19 In Allegheny County: Nursing Home Residents, Staff At Apollo Facility Get 1st Dose Of Vaccine

APOLLO, Pa. (KDKA) -- When it comes to the coronavirus vaccine, Governor Tom Wolf said on Tuesday that he wanted to "separate fact from fiction."

He talked directly to Pennsylvanians over a live stream, trying to convince people of its safety.

KDKA's Meghan Schiller visited one nursing home in Apollo that was excited to receive the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

"They came in around noontime and said they were giving me my shot. And soon enough, it was over and done with and I never felt a thing," said Peggy Shoemaker, a resident at Quality Life Services – Apollo.

Shoemaker is just one of nearly 100 residents and 75 staff members who received the first dose at the clinic.

vaccine pin
(Photo Credit: KDKA)

"I felt I should have it right away and get it over with," said Shoemaker.

KDKA's cameras were there as sleeves rolled up and the Pfizer vaccine flowed from vials to syringes. The CVS team members handed out "#got vaccinated" pins to relieved residents.

"It was nothing," said resident Bonnie Ross. "I was eating my lunch and the pharmacist and lady came in and said, 'We have the shot for you' and I said, 'OK.'"

Not everyone received the first dose, but Paul McGuire — Quality Life Services' chief operating officer — said he hopes that will soon change.

"I'm hopeful that the second round, we'll see a lot of first-timers that we missed this time around," said McGuire.

He's thankful for the federal pharmacy partnership with Walgreens and CVS. Quality Life Services will host pop-up clinics for residents and staff at five more buildings in the coming days.

"Once they got things set in motion, it all kind of fell into place," said McGuire.

And it fell into place for another 159 skilled nursing homes across the Commonwealth this week, according to Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine. Dr. Levine announced Tuesday the statewide total of administered vaccines reached more than 311,000. Nearly 108,000 more doses just arrived in Pennsylvania, with 30,000 coming later this week.

A sign, Ross said, that she could soon see her adult children again.

"I hope so," said Ross. "Even though they're older, you still miss them. They're a part of you."

Dr. Levine also announced Tuesday that the federal pharmacy partnership is to thank for vaccinating more than 52,000 residents and staff at skilled nursing homes across Pennsylvania. Also, since Monday, nearly 17,000 more Pennsylvanians received the first dose.

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