Triangle long-term care facilities begin vaccinating residents, staff

Coronavirus

CARY, N.C. (WNCN) – Residents of long-term care facilities and retirement communities in the Triangle received COVID-19 vaccines Monday for the first time.

Joan DeBruin said the vaccine is quick and painless.

“I didn’t even feel it,” she said.

DeBruin and Roger Heiser are two of the 350 residents and staff members to receive the vaccine at Searstone retirement community in Cary. While it isn’t completely painless for everyone, DeBruin and Heiser, who live in the community, were both are relieved to have gotten it.

“It’s been the best day of 2020 today at Searstone,” said Derrick Moore, the retirement community’s executive director.

The pandemic has been tough on the retirement community, although it has fared better than many, with a total of two residents diagnosed with the virus.

“It’s very stressful, in that we want to keep the residents safe and healthy,” Moore said. “The assisted living and the nursing center, of course, have been shut down virtually for about nine months.”

Residents said they’ve taken safety precautions very seriously.

“We’re isolated, and I think that’s probably the worst part of it is not being with people you want to be with,” Heiser said.

Moore said all but two residents of the retirement community chose to get the shot, along with about 75 percent of staff members. Although it gives many hope for an eventual return to normal life, they know it will still be a while.

“Just because you’ve had the shot doesn’t mean you can stop taking precautions,” Heiser said.

“I think this is a good start, and we’ll wait until we get our second shot and a couple of weeks after that before we feel like we’re a little safer,” DeBruin added. “I don’t think it’s going to change our behavior at all. We’re still going to hunker down until the rest of the country gets their shots.”

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