CINCINNATI — Residents of an apartment complex for low-income seniors faced a barrier last week; the property managers wouldn't allow the Cincinnati Health Department to give the vaccine on-site.
On Friday, they changed their minds, and the vaccinations are set to take place next week.
Senior advocate and Avondale Community Council President Sandra Jones Mitchell first told WCPO about the problems she faced trying to help senior residents living in the Avon View apartments and Haddon Hall apartments get access to the COVID-19 vaccine.
"I heard a lot of frustration from the seniors. I mean, they were just trying to figure out what to do,” said Mitchell, who heads up SOACT -- Serving Older Adults through Changing Times -- a Cincinnati-based, nonprofit advocacy agency for seniors.
It was also frustrating to State Representative Sedrick Denson.
"I reached out to the leadership of Wallick Communities asking for a call or communication to understand what was going on,” Denson said.
Columbus-based Wallick Communities is the property management company for Avon View, Haddon Hall and Roselawn Gardens.
"We were then able to connect with Commissioner (Melba) Moore at the health department and come up with a way to vaccinate all of these seniors."
Denson says vaccinations will take place on-site at Roselawn Gardens, and transportation will be provided to a nearby location for the Avondale seniors.
Wallick Communities emailed the following statement to WCPO on Friday: “On Thursday evening, Wallick met for the second time this week with the Cincinnati Health Department. The outcome of the second meeting is that on Thursday, February 18, eligible residents at Roselawn, Avon View and Haddon Hall apartment communities will receive COVID 19 vaccines from the Cincinnati Health Department. The Health Department is coordinating vaccine scheduling and administration.”
Mitchell said it was the call she had been waiting for.
“I’ve gotten lots of calls, but I’ve never gotten a confirmation call that that was going to happen,” she said.
There are about 122 eligible seniors in the three apartment buildings that will now receive the vaccine. Some, like Denson, now wonder how many other seniors are in a similar situation.
“It’s my understanding from speaking with the Council on Aging that other facilities are running into this exact same problem,” he said. So, they’re looking forward to being a part of this process to see how this works.”
Wallick Communities said their eligible residents will be able to start signing up for the vaccine Friday. Cincinnati Health Commissioner Moore says the department “looks forward to vaccinating residents next week.”