Primrose Retirement Community held a vaccine clinic last Monday, marking the first step, officials said, in a return to normalcy for the elderly residents.
In a second-floor recreation room, residents shuffled in one door and out another to receive the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. Of the 80 residents currently living at Primrose, 40 received the vaccine that day, while the other 40 already had received it, marking a 100-percent participation rate at the facility.
For 90-year-old Jane Lynn, getting the vaccine meant a shot at returning to a normal life and a chance to see her granddaughter again. Lynn’s only in-person contact with her family, she said, was during brief meetings when they would come to the facility to drop off groceries.
Lynn contracted COVID-19 last October, leaving her “out of it.” She had trouble functioning normally, she said, and had trouble walking while she was sick. Though she since has recovered, she said that many of her friends weren’t as lucky.
Getting the vaccine, she said, could put a stop to that.
“So many people have died, and I hope this puts an end to that,” Lynn said. “I’ve lost a couple of friends, and I didn’t realize they died from COVID. So often in the obituaries in doesn’t say that, and then I find out from other friends that they had had it.”
The first thing Lynn will do once she is fully inoculated and able to leave the facility again is go shopping with her granddaughter.
Half of the residents at Primrose who could register and go receive the vaccine at a clinic earlier this year did so, according to Nan Albright, executive director of Primrose. Monday catered to the latter half, who were not mobile or could not leave the facility. Primrose received 50 vaccines through a nationwide partnership between the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and pharmacy chains like Walgreens and CVS called the “Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program.” Primrose received vaccines from CVS last week.
90-year-old Imogene Smith was one of the 40 to receive the vaccine as well. A resident of Primrose for over a year, Smith said she wasn’t nervous to receive the vaccine. In fact, she welcomed it, as it meant she could have a chance to visit with her son again, who she hasn’t seen since March.
Stories like Lynn’s and Smith’s were all too common among residents at Primrose, but with the vaccinations, Albright said that the people living in the community could “have a life again.”
“It feels wonderful,” Albright said. “I am someone who can’t get out of bed in the morning. This morning I popped out of bed. I’m so excited, and I’ve been waiting on this since the day they said they’d be scheduled. I’m just so excited. Truthfully, when I got the email that scheduled the date (for the vaccinations), I teared up. I was just that happy that we were going to be able to protect them, and they were going to be able to have a life again.”
Primrose residents are scheduled to receive their second dose of the Moderna vaccine on March 15.