Holyoke, Chelsea Soldiers' Homes Receive Coronavirus Vaccine

Vaccines arrive Tuesday to the Holyoke Soldiers' Home, the site of one of the worst outbreaks at a long-term care facility in the country

NBC Universal, Inc.

Residents at the Holyoke and Chelsea Soldiers' Homes in Massachusetts are expected to get first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine Tuesday.

Both homes were prioritized to be among the first to receive the vaccine by state health officials, along with other long-term care facilities. The first shipment is scheduled to arrive in Holyoke shortly after 10 a.m.

U.S. Air Force Airman 2nd Class Robert Aucoin, 78, was the first resident to be vaccinated at the Holyoke facility; while Dominic Pitella, a corporal with the Army Air Corps and a former cook with the 559th Air Service Group, was the first resident vaccinated in Chelsea.

Residents at the Holyoke and Chelsea Soldiers' Homes in Massachusetts received their first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine Tuesday.

Nearly 80 veterans at the Holyoke Soldiers' Home died of the coronavirus dating back to March. The state-run care center saw one of the worst outbreaks at a long-term care facility in the country. Some residents who tested negative for the virus were moved to Holyoke Medical Center in April in an attempt to control the outbreak. 

Two former top administrators at the Holyoke home have pleaded not guilty to criminal negligence charges connected to the deaths.

A resident of the Holyoke Soldiers' Home who had lived at an off-site skilled nursing facility since April died earlier this month after testing positive.

Meanwhile, CVS Health began to administer Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine to all residents and workers in long-term care facilities in Massachusetts on Monday.

Over the next three months, CVS Pharmacy teams expect to make a total of three visits to each long-term care facility to give residents and staff their initial shot and booster shot. The Pfizer vaccine requires two doses.

CVS hopes to vaccinate all residents and staff three to four weeks after the first visit. Both CVS and Walgreens were tapped by the federal government to administer the vaccine.

The company plans to provide vaccines to the general public in their 10,000 CVS Pharmacy locations across the country in 2021.

A retired teacher who lives at the Benjamin Healthcare Center in Boston's Mission Hill neighborhood was one of the first people to get the vaccine, according to the state Executive Office of Health and Human Services.

Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders has said about 115,000 long-term care residents and staff statewide need to be vaccinated.

Those receiving the vaccination from pharmacy companies CVS and Walgreens must give their consent first.

Contact Us