Pott. County area nursing home residents, staff receive COVID-19 shots

Elisabeth Slay
The Shawnee News-Star
Golden Rule Home Administrator Jessica Mitchell is pictured receiving the first of two shots for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. FILE/PROVIDED

Over the last several weeks, many residents and staff members at nursing homes throughout Pottawatomie County have received the second shot of the COVID-19 vaccine.

According to Jessica Mitchell, administrator at Golden Rule Home, CVS provided the Pfizer vaccine to that facility and 95 percent of residents and 20 percent of staff members received the first round of the vaccine on Dec. 28 and the second round on Jan. 18 and Feb. 8.

"There were very little side effects — sore arm and a few headaches reported between staff and residents," Mitchell said.

The administrator said the residents are excited to be vaccinated and look forward to what it means for the future.

"They are happy to know they have received it and hope they will soon see things back to a 'normal' state," Mitchell said.

While residents are happy, Mitchell said staff members are not sure about the vaccine.

"Most staff are skeptical and feel that there is not enough data collected to prove it is effective," Mitchell said.

Though a majority of residents are vaccinated, Mitchell said Golden Rule Home doesn't plan to make changes to its visitation policy.

"We must continue to adhere to CMS and CDC regulations," Mitchell said. "Our county is still red, therefore we cannot allow inside visitation and must continue to social distance as much as possible."

Mitchell said while in-person visitation is still not allowed Golden Rule Home continues to try to remain as normal as possible during the pandemic.

"We continue to have activities with the residents, however we ensure social distancing is encouraged and most of our residents have no issues with wearing masks when out of their rooms," Mitchell said.

Going forward, Mitchell said while things won't go entirely back to normal, Golden Rule Home is looking forward to when they will.

"Our hope is that more people will be willing to take the vaccine. Maybe then, the numbers will decrease and less strict regulations from the CDC and CMS could be implemented," Mitchell said.

Much like Golden Rule Home, a majority of the residents of McLoud Nursing Center also received their first COVID-19 vaccine shot Jan. 9 and their second shot Feb. 1.

According to Administrator Marilyn Love, only one resident didn't get vaccinated.

In addition, Love said of the 65 employees at McLoud Nursing Center 55 have received one or both shots of the vaccine.

"Of all our residents and staff, some had some soreness to the arm where they received the vaccine but it was short lived and (I'm) hearing no complaints," Love said.

Those who have not yet received the second shot will do so Feb. 22, she added.

The administrator said both residents and staff are excited to have the opportunity to be vaccinated.

"Many felt like they wanted to do their part to help stop COVID-19 and were proud to be part of that effort," Love said. "They are also excited (about) the fact it may help the facility open back up for visitation in the near future."

Love said residents and staff are looking forward to the positive case rate going down and being able to offer in-person visitation again.

"We are very hopeful that as many of the people in our communities receive the vaccine and if they continue to wear masks and social distance our positivity rates for the city and county will start going back into normal and even low categories which will be the key in how soon we get to allow visitors back into our facilities," Love said.

Lastly, Love said the McLoud Nursing Center hopes to one day soon welcome back families and loved ones.

"We would hope that sooner than later we could welcome everyone back in our facility as we are very family oriented and miss having the personal partnership we experience with our family members like we had in pre-COVID days," Love said.