Residents and staff at Autumn Care Assisted Living receive the Moderna shots
As the COVID-19 pandemic has continued, the one bright spot has been the recent preventative vaccine rollout with several in the Farragut community being among the first to receive them.
Nearly every resident and more than half the staff at Autumn Care Assisted Living’s Farragut location were vaccinated with Moderna Friday, Jan. 15.
“It’s a happy day for us,” said Carol Huddleston, Autumn Care’s vice president of operations. “It has been way too long since our residents have been able to see their families, so today is a very happy day.”
She said the site has “been on lockdown” during the pandemic, with residents only being allowed to see family members “via outside or window visits.”
Huddleston explained the shots were “not mandatory,” but the 45 residents and 20 staff who signed up “were eager to do so.
“We did have some of our staff who are younger, and they were a little skeptical, so they were waiting to see the reactions from those who got it, before deciding to take the shot later on,” she added.
Staff also carefully monitored residents following their vaccines, to ensure any potential side effects materializing could be minimized. About mid-way through the process, Diane Krause, Autumn Care executive director said, “So far everyone has done really well.
“We are really looking forward to returning to some normalcy after everyone gets their second shot. We and our residents’ families have been anxiously awaiting this opportunity, and they have been really supportive of it.”
Huddleston said there will be a follow-up shot 30 days from the first, which is protocol for all available COVID-19 vaccines at the moment. Previous reports have indicated vaccine recipients are 94 percent immune from COVID-19 two weeks after the second shot is received.
Pharmacists from Walgreens vetted patients, helped them with paperwork then administered the shots on-site.
“They have done a really good job for us,” Krause said. “They have been very organized and very prepared. We had an education session (Jan. 13) to get everything ready.”
Krause also shared Autumn Care Farragut “had 98 percent participation from our residents. It is a great day for them — it really is light at the end of the tunnel.’
Resident Alice Keck, who also is a long-time Farragut resident, reported she had gotten her shot earlier in the day.
“I was so glad to be getting it,” the octogenarian said. “I also know there could be some side effects, but I still think it is worth it. I will be so glad to be able to go back to church and see my family again.”
“They were really organized and had us in and out very quickly,” fellow resident Mary Scarbrough added.
“It really has gone so fast,” Keck said.
Autumn Wilson, a resident care assistant with Autumn Care, said she was “a little nervous” about getting the shot.
“I don’t like needles,” she said, looking away while pharmacist Sam Starks administered her vaccine.
The first round of vaccines wrapped up at the assisted living facility by early afternoon.
For her part, Brandy Manifort, Karns Autumn Care executive director/community relations, was relieved and said, “Today, this gets us one step closer to making my job so much easier.”