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GlenBrook Health Center
GlenBrook Health Center staffer Sheila Gonzales receives the second dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 shot on Jan. 25 in Carlsbad. The facility inoculated between 350 and 375 residents and staffers. Photo by Steve Puterski
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Carlsbad seniors get second round of COVID-19 vaccinations

CARLSBAD — Hundreds of residents and staffers at GlenBrook Health Center received their second dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines on Jan. 25 as part of the county’s rollout.

According to Sadie Harness, the facilities administrator, between 350 to 375 vaccinations were administered to residents and staffers. Last week, GlenBrook’s sister property, La Costa Glen, more than 1,000 residents received their first dose of the vaccine. Those receiving the vaccine were shuttled through several rooms to drop off paperwork, take the shot and finish with a 15-minute rest period before returning to their rooms, Harness said.

Many of the residents at GlenBrook have moved from La Costa Glen, Harness said, as GlenBrook offers additional service and care to more vulnerable seniors.

“It’s well organized,” Harness said of the partnership with the facility and CVS pharmacists. “Right now, we’re not comingling except on vaccine day. Jan. 4 was the first one and we did 300 vaccines for staff and residents.”

For 89-year-old Dave Davis, the COVID-19 vaccine was one of many he’d endured throughout his life. The former Marine, who served in the Korean War and was vaccinated countless times in the service, said the first COVID-19 shot hurt a “little bit” and his arms were sore for one or two days.

CVS Pharmacist Lina Bui prepares the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for residents and staffers on Jan. 25 at GlenBrook Health Center in Carlsbad. Photo by Steve Puterski

The second shot, though, was easier to take although he was unsure of any side effects. Regardless, the former Marine, who lost his wife of nearly 50 years just before the pandemic, said it was a relief to get the shots and has eased some of the tension in the facility.

Prior to the pandemic, Davis said GlenBrook was bustling with activities with his favorite being Bingo, which he played two hours per day. But since March 2020, the residents have endured isolation and separation from their families, which has made life tougher.

“The first time I had the shot … the arm was just a little bit sore,” Davis. “I expected to be worse today, but I hardly felt the needle and haven’t felt and of the after-effects yet.”

Tracy Sherman, an ombudsman and independent advocate, said the second set of shots provides a “light at the end of the tunnel” for residents. While her work has shifted to virtual meetings and phone calls, she also received a second dose and will be able to return in person to meet with the residents.

Like Harness, Sherman said the rollout has been a smooth operation as pharmacists and techs from CVS have helped streamlined the process. However, Harness said “normal” is not expected to return to GlenBrook for at least six months as the rest of the population must be vaccinated as well.

“It’s just been good and a long-time needed,” Sherman added. “I think the staff has done amazingly well to keep it as pleasant for the residents as possible under impossible circumstances.”