Sparta Pharmacy and its “sister” pharmacy, LTC Scripts in Long Valley, have been working with Knoll Communities to get its senior residents vaccinated against Covid-19.
“Sparta Pharmacy was a true blessing for us,” said Francesca McKernan, CEO and executive director of Knoll Communities, which offers affordable assisted living for seniors. “When all other avenues seemed to lead us down dead ends, Sparta Pharmacy listened to us and helped to make it happen.”
Given that Knoll View and Knoll Heights residents are considered “independent,” it was very difficult to find help with the vaccine, McKernan said. The residents are low-income senior citizens who had much difficulty navigating the technology needed to book appointments elsewhere, she said, and many lack the means of transportation to get to any of the sites.
“Sparta Pharmacy came right to us, and all residents and staff that wanted the vaccine were able to get one,” said McKernan. “We could not be more grateful.”
Knoll View residents received their second dose of the vaccine on Feb. 22. “Our residents are looking forward to getting back to a sense of normalcy,” said Kerri Frank, an administrator. “We are beyond grateful for our partnership with LTC Scripts and humbled to know that Knoll View was on the forefront of their minds.”
Flossie Meyer, 102, received her first vaccine, produced by Moderna, several weeks ago. “There were no incidents of reaction,” she said. “On February 22 we received our second shot. We know the two shots combined has a 95% effective rate. All of the precautions that we have been doing throughout this pandemic we must continue to do. I feel more confident that there is a cure on the way, time will tell.”
“We definitely needed a solution, and the vaccine seems to be the answer,” said Betty Van Orden as she received her vaccine. “We shall see what happens this year. I hope that it works!”
Stephanie Ruggiero, director of resident services at Knoll Heights, helped arrange the clinics.
Neither snow nor rain
The clinics went forward despite last week’s snowstorm. Knoll employees worked with the pharmacy staff to make the clinics run smoothly. “We ensured every resident had transportation to and from the clinic,” Ruggiero said. “That meant picking them up in a door-to-door service in a golf cart a few minutes prior to their appointment — no lines, no waiting, and easy access to the vaccine.
“We pulled together and made sure this was a priority to protect as many residents as we could from getting sick. It is possible to host clinics, and I think it’s important for other communities to know that if you keep reaching out, you might find someone who can help your community too.”
Pharmacist Sharad Patel owns Sparta Pharmacy. “We’re the local pharmacy in town,” Patel said. “Many of our patients live in Knoll View and Knoll Heights, and we have been delivering their medications due to the pandemic. We were happy to set up the clinics, and it’s been so good to see our customers who live there again. Some, like Lois Cisar, we haven’t physically seen in a year.”
Sparta Pharmacy plans to schedule more clinics, including eventually at the pharmacy, once they receive more does. “With the Pfizer vaccine, you need the deep freezer, and they are very expensive,” said Patel. “We feel the Moderna vaccine is just as effective and easier to manage.”
“LTC Scripts and Sparta Pharmacy have been delivering excellence to Knoll View for many years, and when we needed aid the most they came to our rescue,” said Frank, the administrator. She, along with Knoll View’s director of nursing, Lorraine Davis, and nursing supervisor, Lisa Burd, gathered all the required information in a matter of days and had their first clinic in late January. LTC Scripts organized the clinic, Knoll View staff accompanied each resident, and a Sparta Pharmacy pharmacist and technician distributed the vaccines.
Frank said, “They provided a clinic right inside Knoll View and delivered what our residents have been yearning for the past year: hope.”
“There were no incidents of reaction. On February 22 we received our second shot. We know the two shots combined has a 95% effective rate. All of the precautions that we have been doing throughout this pandemic we must continue to do. I feel more confident that there is a cure on the way, time will tell.” Flossie Meyer, 102