SALEM, Va. – Some of the communities hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic in Southwest Virginia are finally seeing signs of hope.
The first COVID-19 vaccine doses were administered to workers and long-term care residents at Richfield Living.
Residents at Richfield Living haven’t been able to see who they want coming through their doors in months, but on Tuesday, they finally saw what they need.
“We’re on day 311 of our residents not being able to hug and spend quality time with their loved ones,” said Richfield Living CEO Cherie Grisso.
“It has been tough keeping the residents and families separate, so this is the first step to getting them back together,” said Andy Jones, administrator at Richfield Living.
The COVID-19 vaccine finally arrived at the Salem facility Tuesday morning as Walgreens delivered 344 doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
About half of the doses went to long-term care residents while the remaining doses were given to staff at the facility.
“Oh, it was just like any other vaccine. No pain. It went great,” Jones said.
Grisso said there was a buzz around Richfield the moment they learned a vaccine had been approved but they only found out it was coming to their facility six days ago.
The vaccine is not mandatory for Richfield residents.
“We’re so excited to have 93% of our long-term care residents signed up to take this vaccine today,” Grisso said.
More than 700 workers and residents are still anxiously awaiting future vaccine shipments.
“Today is bringing kind of a new rejuvenation of spirit and hope and that’s just really something that everybody’s been looking forward to for a long time,” explained Grisso.
“I’ve had a lot of sleepless nights with the whole process and family members not being able to see their loved ones, so for them to be able to do that again, it’s awesome,” Jones said.