Armed Forces Retirement Home officials expect residents and staff members of the two campuses to be offered the COVID-19 vaccine “within the next week,” a spokesman said Dec. 17.
The two AFRH campuses have been designated a top priority for initial deliveries of the COVID-19 vaccine, said AFRH spokesman Chris Kelly. All AFRH residents and staff members will be offered the vaccine, he said.
“Our team is working diligently with the DoD to finalize logistics and to establish a vaccination start date,” he said.
The average age of the residents is 83. The Washington, D.C. campus has 259 residents, and the Gulfport, Miss. campus has 439 residents.
Nationwide, vaccinations began the week of Dec. 14 as shipments of the vaccine began arriving. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that the first priority for the vaccines be given to health care personnel, and residents of long-term care facilities.
The Armed Forces Retirement Home is the nation’s oldest continually operating retirement home for enlisted military personnel. Residents of the AFRH campuses are retired or certain former enlisted members. The campuses provide independent living, assisted living, memory support and long-term care support.
Since March, both locations have been under Health Protection Condition Delta, effectively closing the campuses to all visitors, Kelly said. In April, two employees tested positive for COVID, one at each of the two campuses. To date, AFRH has conducted over 19,500 COVID tests, with a positive rate of less than one percent, Kelly said. There have been no deaths directly attributed to COVID, he said.
AFRH has worked in close partnership with DoD to obtain critical supplies and personal protective equipment, and administered COVID tests through the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and Keesler Air Force Base health labs, located near the campuses, Kelly said.
“We have taken every precaution to ensure the health and safety of our residents and staff.”
Karen has covered military families, quality of life and consumer issues for Military Times for more than 30 years, and is co-author of a chapter on media coverage of military families in the book "A Battle Plan for Supporting Military Families." She previously worked for newspapers in Guam, Norfolk, Jacksonville, Fla., and Athens, Ga.