A 58-year-old Pottstown woman who dislikes getting needles in her arm could hardly wait Thursday morning for her coronavirus vaccine at the Keystone Villa at Douglassville.

“I’ve never been so excited about getting a shot in my entire life,” said Rita A. Clemmer, an office manager who was the first of 50 employees to get vaccinated.

“We’ve been planning this with CVS for months,” Clemmer said. “I don’t care for shots, but I’m excited to get this one.”

CVS pharmacists and technicians traveled from Blue Bell, Montgomery County, to vaccinate the employees and 86 residents in the personal care unit of Keystone in Amity Township.

Douglas E. Fouche, regional director of operations at Heritage Senior Living, the manager of Keystone Villa, said the company chose CVS because it had the vaccine available earlier than other vendors.

Fouche said they got dates when the Pfizer vaccines would arrive about two weeks ago.

The vaccine, which got emergency approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in December, is given in two shots.

The date for the residents and employees to get a second shot is Feb. 21. There are also plans for another date for the vaccines in March. The shots are free of charge for residents and employees.

“Our goal is to get everyone vaccinated,” Fouche said.

So far, he said, there have not been any allergic reactions from the shot from residents in New Jersey senior care centers managed by Heritage. He added that there are no positive coronavirus cases at Keystone Villa.

The CVS crew arrived at Keystone at 10 a.m. and set up to provide coronavirus vaccinations to the employees in an empty apartment on the first floor. Residents received their shots in their rooms.

Chelsea Hawkins, a CVS pharmacy technician, said the pharmacy staff travels throughout the region. They pick up the shots at another CVS pharmacy in the region, and then drive to the nursing homes to provide the shots.

At this time, the shots are open for people in Phase 1A, which includes medical care workers, nursing homes,  those age 65 and older, and those age 16 to 64 who have risk factors.

She said a few locations have moved to Phase 1B, which includes workers in law enforcement, grocery store workers, transit staff, postal workers and firefighters.

Tricia Gorton, a pharmacist at the Blue Bell location, said the traveling to nursing homes to administer the vaccine started the last week of December.

“It’s going pretty well,” Gorton said, as she was getting the shots ready.

The Pfizer shots arrive frozen at minus 94 degrees and can be thawed at room temperature or in a refrigerator.

The Keystone employees, wearing turquoise T shirts with Healthcare Hero embossed on them, organized festivities for the event.

Marketing director Ann Carr and the marketing department organized games, gifts and a pizza luncheon with the theme “Kick Covid-19 out of the Keystone Villa.”

Employees accompanied the pharmacy staffers to the residents' rooms.

Longtime resident, Mary Okuniewski, 90, was waiting patiently in her room for her shot after lunch.

“I am not looking forward to the needle, but I’m glad to get it,” she said. “If I get the shot and it works, I will be happy to know that it will work for all of my family.”

Okuniewski said she looks forward to seeing her family, noting she hasn’t been out much since March 7.

Her daughter-in-law, Sue Okuniewski, a marketing coordinator, stopped to see her mother-in-law, who was on her way to lunch before getting the vaccine.

“I got my hair done,” her mother-in-law said proudly.

“I love your hair,” Sue Okuniewski responded.

By 11:30 a.m., a line of employees was forming to get vaccinated in the makeshift clinic on the first floor.

Clemmer was more than ready to get her vaccination.

Pharmacist Nick Depalma then injected her right arm with the vaccine.

“You rock,” Depalma said after giving the shot.

“Thank you so much,” Clemmer responded. “This wasn’t bad at all and I don’t like shots.”

Carr then handed her a gift from Keystone.

“I got this nice new blanket and a gift card,” Clemmer said.

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