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Lending a hand to vaccinate our nation

May 17, 2021 | Community

A CVS nurse, wearing PPE, draws a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Accordant nurses are there for individuals with complex conditions and their caregivers every single day, but not in a clinical, in-person setting. Most of the time, they interact with members either digitally or on phone calls.

When the call went out, more than 100 Accordant nurses signed up almost immediately, and volunteered to administer COVID-19 vaccines to patients.

A four block image featuring three headshots of Accordant nurses and the CVS red heart.
Top left: Gloria Botello; Top right: Kalah Mueller; Bottom left: Phyllis Smith

One of them was Gloria Botello, RN, a telephone-based nurse care manager. Gloria is passionate about teaching people how to manage complex conditions and stay healthy.

“The more you teach people about their conditions and why things work the way they do, the more likely they are to stick to their medication regimen and lifestyle changes to keep them healthy,” Gloria said.

While Gloria typically helps members on the phone, she said this felt like a chance to help in a different but still meaningful way. She administered vaccines to patients in her local San Antonio, TX long-term care facility in San Antonio, TX.

“So many of my friends are out there working on the front lines, and seeing what they go through every day, I thought ‘if only there was a way of helping.’ This was my opportunity,” she said. “It was gratifying to help make a difference for people, like the 100-year-old patient who couldn’t wait to see his family again safely.”

Another nurse who answered the call was Kalah Mueller, RN. Kalah focuses on digital patient engagement and experience, including the secure member website, which allows Accordant members to track their health and symptoms and securely message their care management nurses 24/7. She shared how nursing education can play a role in helping patients navigate their conditions.

“One Accordant member with an auto-immune disorder didn’t know how certain over-the-counter pain relievers could mimic symptoms of his condition or even cause flare-ups. I counseled him to speak to his doctor, and after having a conversation with his doctor, he switched to another type of pain reliever and told me he felt better than he had in years,” she said.

Like Gloria, Kalah was excited to help vaccinate high-risk populations for COVID-19, using her previous experience in emergency management and disaster preparedness.

“The goal is to get as many people vaccinated as possible,” she said. “So I put my scrubs on, got a rapid COVID-19 test at my local CVS Pharmacy, and started vaccinating patients at a long-term care facility in Yadkinville, NC.”
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Phyllis Smith, RN is a telephone-based nurse care manager who supports individuals and their caregivers manage rare conditions and their comorbidities.

Having worked in a hospital in the past, Phyllis couldn’t imagine showing up to work every day in an N95 mask and caring for very sick people who couldn’t see their family in person. She has a lot of respect for the front-line healthcare workers.

“I really enjoyed my experience administering COVID-19 vaccines in long-term care facilities. For someone who provides care management through the phone, it was so gratifying talking to patients face-to-face,” she said.

At the start of the pandemic, one of Phyllis’s members experienced a flare-up in her condition and was concerned about going to the emergency room — especially since her husband would not be able to go with her.

“With her permission, and to help her make this important decision, I quickly arranged a call with her, her husband, and hospital staff to help answer her questions. She ended up deciding to go to the emergency room and getting care for her flare-up,” Phyllis said.


CVS Health thanks all its colleagues who are helping vaccinate our country, including Phyllis, Kalah, and Gloria, and all the other Accordant nurses who stepped up to join the national effort.