RIDGELAND, Miss. (WLBT) - Families with residents in nursing homes may soon be able to see and hug their loved ones again.
Nursing homes and long term care facilities report a dramatic drop in coronavirus cases since the vaccine rollout.
It’s a welcomed shot in the arm for the elderly longing for the return to normalcy.
Residents and staff at the Ridgeland Place retirement facility took the final steps to fight COVID-19 Friday by rolling up their sleeves for the second dose of the vaccine.
Charlene Bryant, who lives at the facility and got her second shot, is ready to go back to life before COVID.
“I want my friends and everything,” said Bryant. “When you see somebody and they talk to you about it, we can do anything we want.”
Howard Shackleford is also a resident who moved to the retirement home around the time the pandemic hit.
“I just thought it was important to get it,” said Shackleford. “It’ll be safe for me and safe or people that I communicate with.”
According to a report by the American Health Care Association and the National Center for Assisted Living, nursing homes nationwide have seen an 82 percent decrease in COVID-19 cases since tracking started last May. The report links the decline to vaccinations.
“I think it’s fantastic that so many people are willing to get this vaccine and knowing that the numbers are good with 83 percent success, that makes everyone want to get it even more,” said Ridgeland Place Executive Director Wendy Wells.
Ridgeland Place officials proudly report no COVID-19 cases among residents since the start of the pandemic. They attribute the success rate to staff who also completed their vaccinations Friday.
“Dealing with the residents around the building, I’ve been here 28 years, better safe than sorry,” said Ridgeland Place chef Tony Harper.
“Everyone was eager to get it,” said Ridgeland Place Health and Wellness Director Ramie Fields. “We didn’t have any problems. Everyone wanted to take the vaccine because they’re wanting everything to be back to normal as soon as possible.”
“No problems. Doing good,” said Community Sales Director Ashley Martin after taking the shot. “Staying strong. Covid-free.”
Seventy residents were administered the Pfizer vaccines.