Assisted living facility, families at wit’s end waiting for center to finally get COVID-19 vaccine

SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. — The executive director of a North Fulton County assisted living center said she is desperate for answers as her employees and residents, many of whom are in the most vulnerable category, continue to wait for their COVID-19 vaccines.

The facility’s management and family members of residents there came to Channel 2 Action News looking for help because they claim that health officials aren’t giving them answers.

Iva Thelen told Channel 2′s Michael Seiden that she’s at her wits’ end.

For the last three weeks, Thelen said she has been calling and emailing countless health officials trying to find out why the residents and employees of Hollander Senior Living of Sandy Springs are still waiting to get their first doses of the vaccine.

Thelen said Monday that her mother and brother were among the 47 residents and 18 employees scheduled to get the vaccine through Walgreens last month. But that never happened because of a last-minute cancelation by the pharmacy.

“They deserve that. They’ve waited patiently and have done everything possible to make sure that they’re protected, but we need that next step,” Thelen said.

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Since that cancelation, the assisted living center’s executive director Glenda Shaw has attempted to reschedule the appointments.

“I reached out to multiple drugstores around the area — none of them have it. I reached out to the CDC, reached out to Fulton County Health Department, and no one really seems to know what’s going on right now,” Shaw said.

Shaw said what makes things even worse is that her company’s sister property in Monroe hasn’t had any issues with getting their facility vaccinated.

Shaw told Seiden that she feels awful for the families of her residents.

“They’re asking me, ‘Why are my mom or my dad not being vaccinated?’ and I just don’t have an answer, and that’s very frustrating to them, and it’s very frustrating to me as well,” Shaw said.

Seiden contacted the Fulton County Board of Health about the issues, and a spokeswoman told him that they’re working to get to the bottom of this situation.

“At this point, the next rollout is going to come for other people to be getting vaccines, and we’re going to continue with this problem,” Thelen said.

She told Seiden that she’s trying her best to stay in close contact with her loved ones. But without the vaccine, she won’t be able to see them.

“They are extremely stressed out. It’s, you know, to take someone and put them in lockdown. They need touch. They need, you know, companionship,” Thelen said.