Spokane care facility preparing for COVID-19 vaccine

SPOKANE, Wash. — In a little more than a week, the United States could be approved for a COVID-19 vaccine. Currently, the vaccine from Pfizer and Moderna have been submitted to the FDA for emergency approval.

If one is approved next week, Americans can start seeing it within 24 hours. One Spokane adult family home is already preparing for that to happen.

“We started getting e-mails about a month ago talking about we’re going to be seeing the vaccination soon,” said Kerri Sandifer, owner of Home Sweet Home. “We need to be on board with making sure our home is registered with the Department of Health.”

Home Sweet Home houses six residents with either mental health disabilities or dementia. Unlike many other facilities in Spokane County, no COVID-19 cases or deaths have been reported in Sandifer’s facility.

RELATED: More than 60 percent of Spokane County’s COVID deaths linked to long-term care facilities

Walgreens reached out to Sandifer about administering the vaccine.

“I know I was contacted by Walgreens saying they’re one of the ones that are going to be doing the shots in the shot clinics, is what they call them,” she said. “Either they’re going to be delivered and storing the vaccine in our home. It has to be stored a certain way. We have to learn that protocol.”

Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines would be given in two doses. About 20 million doses of each vaccine will be available by the end of the year. It’s news Sandifer and many others have been waiting for.

“Oh it was like finally, finally something’s being done,” she said. “I know a lot of people have reservations about how this is rushed, how this is done. Bring it on. I’m ready to take. These people have to get back to normalcy.”

The uncertain times have been hard on the residents, staff and Sandifer.

“It’s really taken a toll,” she said. “It’s less about the virus and more about the mental health piece of it.”

The FDA will meet on Dec. 10 to discuss the emergency approval of the Pfizer vaccine followed by the Moderna vaccine on Dec. 17. If it’s approved, Sandifer said she’s going to wait before she changes any safety measures. Many of the rules are under Gov. Inslee’s Safe Start Plan.

Back in October, the state Department of Health had to submit a vaccine distribution plan. It lays out who would get the vaccine first in Washington and

“I don’t want to rush anything for anybody but we’re also not going to live in fear,” Sandifer explained. “These guys are on limited time and I want them to get back to living.”

RELATED: CDC vaccine advisers vote to recommend that health care staff and long term care facility residents get COVID-19 vaccine first

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