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Vaccination clinic for senior high-rise residents in Scranton

Friends of the Poor held the clinic in place of its annual day of service for Martin Luther King Jr. Day

SCRANTON, Pa. — Friends of the Poor in Scranton has been serving food since the start of the pandemic. Their latest effort is a shot at bringing the pandemic to an end.

COVID-19 restrictions meant the organization could not hold its annual day of service for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, so Friends of the Poor contacted the Department of Health asking for vaccines.

"We try to help people 365 days a year, but the pandemic's a weird time. None of us have experienced this; none of us have lived through this. So, we thought, where are we falling short in helping people through the pandemic, and what can we do to help?" said Meghan Loftus, president & CEO of Friends of the Poor.

With the help of Scranton Primary and Marywood University, Friends of the Poor was able to get 320 Moderna vaccines for the residents and staff at Adams High-Rise in downtown Scranton.

"I'm glad I got the shot, and I was looking for where to go for it, and I'm glad they did this," said resident Janice Cordier.

Cordier said there was no pain; all she felt was a rush of relief.

"I hope there's a light at the end of the tunnel; I really do because we have lost so many people," she added.

Residents told Newswatch 16 there were COVID-19 outbreaks at the facility in the spring and that the pandemic has really affected their quality of life. Many of the residents live alone.

"I think now after having the shot, hopefully, everybody will feel a little bit more comfortable and, you know, if there is a problem, you won't be so timid to go up to somebody and talk to them," said employee Scott Lombardi.

Friends of the Poor plans to ask for more vaccines that will be distributed at other senior and low-income housing facilities across the city.

"We're just trying to get as many people who fall into this category in Scranton as possible, and our hope is to reach back out to the Department of Health, get more vaccines, and continue through to the rest of the high rises," Loftus said.

The volunteers will return to Adams High Rise in 28 days, which just so happens to be Presidents Day, to administer the second vaccine dose to residents.

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