Arbor Springs Health and Rehab Center in Opelika kicked off 2021 on the right foot as its residents and staff began receiving the COVID-19 vaccine on Monday.
“We’ve been waiting and praying for this day to arrive,” said Annie Swanson, the administrator of Arbor Springs. “Taking the vaccine today won’t immediately put an end to the pandemic, but it’s a step in the right direction, and it is the perfect way to start a new year.”
Arbor Springs was hit hard by COVID-19 when the pandemic began in March 2020. The nursing home had 68 residents test positive and 20 residents died after contracting the virus, according to a May 2020 story by the Opelika-Auburn News.
COVID-19 impacted those who live and work in long-term care facilities, such as Arbor Springs, throughout the country. Older individuals and those with underlying health conditions are at higher risk for serious illness and death from COVID-19 and healthcare workers are at high risk for being exposed on the job, Arbor Springs said.
As a result of the virus’ impact on long-term care facilities, the facilities are among the first to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, something Swanson and Arbor Springs are thankful for.
“This has been a hard, hard year for our residents, their families, our staff and our community,” Swanson said. “We have mourned those lost to the virus, weathered infections and sacrificed so much to protect each other and maintain safe social distancing. Today’s vaccines get us one step closer to a time when we can all safely spend time with family and friends”
The leaders of Traylor-Porter Healthcare, which owns Arbor Springs, are also receiving the vaccine and are urging all residents and employees to join them, Arbor Springs said.
“Our top priority is keeping our team and our residents safe,” said Mark Traylor, the president of Traylor-Porter Healthcare. “We are thrilled to have effective vaccines that can help us reduce the threat of COVID-19 for all the people who make up the Arbor Springs family.”
Those at Arbor Springs who received the vaccine on Monday will receive the second shot on Jan. 25. Recipients should develop an immune response that will greatly reduce their chances of getting sick after COVID-19 after receiving the second dose, Arbor Springs said.