SIDNEY – The residents and staff of Ohio Living Dorothy Love said it was a party-like atmosphere on Thursday as the senior living facility hosted its first COVID-19 vaccine clinic.
“Excited this day’s here,” said Eric Shoemaker, director of independent living. “It’s a party atmosphere. It really is.”
Staff from Walgreens visited Dorothy Love on Thursday and administered approximately 270 doses of the two-dose Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to residents and staff. The second round of vaccinations is scheduled for Feb. 4.
After 10 months of being apart, residents were joyful as they visited the Amos Center for their vaccinations and saw their friends.
“From what I’ve heard today, they are so glad to see each other and be able to visit,” said Lori Puterbaugh, a Dorothy Love resident and the independent activities coordinator for residents of houses and apartments at Dorothy Love. “It’s a real family community here.”
Since March 2020, Puterbaugh has utilized Dorothy Love’s campus television system to host activities for residents. They play games including bingo, Boggle and To Tell the Truth by watching their televisions and using their telephones to call in their results, earning 25 cents to spend at the Twice Around Shop or the gift shop each time they win.
“We’re up to almost $500 of wins because we had no clue,” Puterbaugh said. “We thought this all was going to be like a six-week thing. We’ve been playing since March.”
Residents haven’t been able to spend their winnings because both shops have been closed during the COVID-19 pandemic. But Puterbaugh is looking forward to the day when residents will be able to shop and play games together.
“Every time we get our hopes up thinking things are starting to slow down a little bit another surge happens it seems like, not necessarily here but maybe even in the community,” Puterbaugh said. “We’re hoping that because of so many people getting the vaccine today and subsequent times that it will help us get together.”
At this point, it’s still unclear when restrictions will be eased and residents will be able to spend more time together. But the vaccine is a step toward that goal, Administrator Ryan Douglas said.
“It’s one step closer to getting back to some normalcy,” he said. “We’re just following the CDC guidelines and just kind of taking it day by day. We’re hoping for sooner rather than later.”
Douglas received his second dose of the vaccine Thursday afternoon. He said the first dose resulted in a sore arm and some nausea for about one day, but he didn’t feel any side effects shortly after his second dose.
Puterbaugh, who received her first shot Thursday afternoon, said she hadn’t experienced any side effects.
“Very easy,” she said of receiving the vaccine. “Didn’t hurt. And they were very organized here so I didn’t have to wait too long.”
With vaccine distribution starting, Puterbaugh is hopeful that parties and in-person activities will be able to resume soon.
“We’re just thankful that we have this opportunity to get the vaccine,” she said. “Hoping that more people will do it and it will make a difference because we sure would like to get back to the way life was.”
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