LUFKIN, Texas (KTRE) - The pandemic hit long-term care facilities hard. While many are still reeling from its effects, an assisted living facility in Lufkin received its second round of the COVID-19 vaccine Tuesday.
Patricia Crooks and Gerald Tamplin were two of the 31 residents at Neches House Assisted Living to receive the second shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
“I’ve had other inoculations and never had any side effects other than a sore arm,” Tamplin said. “So, it just made sense to advantage of the vaccine that is available.”
“As I told my grandkids,” Crooks said, “‘so all those old people won’t get it.’”
“At first, I was like, ‘man, that’s quick,’” Neches House Resident Care Director Katie Jones said. “But then, I thought about it. I pray about it.”
Jones also received her second dose Tuesday.
“Then I said, ‘if I am going to try to convince my residents that this is for them, this is a good idea,’ that I need to do this and lead by example and do my part. And that’s what I am doing. Trying to help do my part to help stop this.”
Jones said just two residents have been positive for COVID-19 but have since recovered.
“We’ve been blessed, and we’re hoping the Good Lord keeps it that way,” she said. “We’re following our protocols, ensuring they are safe, keeping everything up to date and following all the guidelines.”
Neches House Executive Director Lana Hines said the pandemic has presented challenges.
“Our residents not being able to see their loved ones, touch them, love them and hug them,” Hines said. “The hugs do wonders for us, and it’s been hard even for staff.”
Hines said they hope the vaccine goes a long way in the fight against the virus.
“I know the development of the vaccine was very fast of, but I think it had to be fast in order to come up with a way to protect our whole nation from the spread of COVID-19,” Hines said. “We hope it can stop it so we can get back to some sense of normalcy.”
Jones says for those at the facility who took their first shot of the vaccine Tuesday, another vaccination clinic will be available in 21 days.