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IVH well above national vaccine average

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Almost 100 percent of residents at the Iowa Veterans Home have received the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. The national average of long-term facility residents receiving the vaccine is 64.

Almost 100 percent of residents at the Iowa Veterans Home have received the COVID-19 vaccine.

That is a significant increase over the average percentage of long-term residents getting the vaccine across the country, which is a little more than 70 percent, said Commandant Timon Oujiri.

Of the IVH staff members, 64 percent have opted for the vaccine, as opposed to the nationwide average of 37 percent.

“Vaccinations are going excellent,” Oujiri said. “We have a housekeeper who said they got it because it was the right thing to do. Everybody has stepped up and said they would get it for the residents, for their families and for the community.”

He attributes the high rate to the ongoing education efforts. Staff reached out to family members of residents and told them about the vaccine. Much of that occurred in January, before the first round began. The second round of vaccinations were held Feb. 2 through Feb. 4, and the third and final round will begin next week.

IVH will keep vaccines on hand throughout the year for new staff members, residents and any staff who refused the vaccine before but decide to receive it later.

The COVID unit on the campus has remained empty for the last 14 days, and Oujiri said since the pandemic started, only 28 residents have had confirmed cases.

“That is out of 450 residents,” he said. “The staff have done a fantastic job of keeping COVID at bay. The staff wear masks when they are out in the community and there are no more complaints about wearing PPE. I could not be prouder of the Iowa Veterans Home staff and they’re abiding by the COVID requirements.”

Some discussions are being held on whether or not to allow visitors on the campus who have not received a COVID-19 vaccine.

“We are looking at that and strongly leaning toward requiring visitors to be vaccinated,” Oujiri said. “We are not 100 percent sure on that yet. This is all about monitoring the health of residents and staff.”

Contact Lana Bradstream at 641-753-6611 or lbradstream@timesrepublican.com.

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