On Tuesday, the first veteran residents at the Soldiers’ Home in Chelsea received the COVID-19 vaccination. Vaccination was done onsite through a federal Long Term Care pharmacy partnership program with CVS and Walgreens. The onsite vaccinations also began for staff at the Soldiers’ Home.
In Chelsea, Dominic Pitella, 94, was the first resident vaccinated at the Soldiers’ Home. Pitella has been a resident of the Soldiers’ Home in Chelsea since April 2018. Pitella, a U.S. Army Air Corps Corporal, was a cook with the 559th Air Service Group and served in the Pacific Theater during World War II 1945-1946. His awards include the Army of Occupation Medal, World War II Victory Medal, and the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal.
“I’m hopeful this will help everybody,” said Pitella.
“Administering vaccines to our frontline health care workers and now some of our most vulnerable residents in the Soldiers’ Home provides relief and hope that there are brighter days ahead for all,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “We are pleased to start providing the first dose to the incredible men and women living in the Chelsea facilities to offer more protection from COVID-19, and remain grateful to the dedicated staff who are working tirelessly to keep our veterans safe and healthy during the pandemic.”
Said Veterans Services Secretary, and former Chelsea Soldiers’ Home superintendent, Cheryl Lussier Poppe, “The Department of Veterans’ Services and the Soldiers’ Home in Chelsea move forward with hope and perseverance to a bright future for our veteran residents and staff. We look forward to continuing our work to ensure our veterans are cared for, and today’s vaccination is another vital step in our mission as we continue this commitment. The ongoing support of the surrounding community is impactful, and deeply appreciated, as we navigate this public health emergency together.”
As a Long Term Care facility, the Soldiers’ Homes in Chelsea is prioritized in Phase One of the COVID vaccine distribution plan. The Soldiers’ Home is enrolled in the CDC’s Long-Term Care Pharmacy Partnership program for the COVID-19 vaccination administration.
In the coming weeks, there will be additional onsite vaccination clinics at the Home to vaccinate veteran residents and staff. The Home is encouraging the vaccine for all Veteran residents and staff, and are working to obtain consent for those interested. COVID vaccination is voluntary for everyone – however all people are encouraged to get vaccinated.
In addition to the COVID-19 vaccination at the Soldiers’ Home, the facility will continue weekly testing and daily symptom checking of all residents and staff.