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Vernon Woods residents rejoice after receiving COVID-19 vaccine

There were tears of joy and applause as nurses administered the first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to residents of Vernon Woods Retirement Community.  A team of nurses from Wellstar West Georgia vaccine gave 52 residents their first round of the vaccine Thursday.  

“Nothing to it,” said 92-year-old Louise Clinkscales, who was the first resident receive the vaccine.

Vernon Woods Executive Director Susan Burdick said residents were overwhelmingly in favor of receiving the vaccine.

“Ever since the announcement was made that residents in senior housing would have first priority, residents have been asking how soon can we get ours. I am so delighted that that day has come,” Burdick said. “It has truly given our residents encouragement and hope during this COVID-19 pandemic.”

The vaccine is administered in two parts, 28 days apart. Residents of Vernon Woods will receive the final dose the first week of February. Michelle McMickin, APRN, manager of infection prevention is the lead for Wellstar West Georgia’s COVID-19 vaccine administration team.

“Our team of nurses and support staff who were on hand for the vaccinations are so proud of each of these residents who so willingly stepped up to help end the spread of the Covid-19 virus,” McMickin said.

Many residents rejoiced to the nurses while they were administered the vaccine. 

“Bless you and thank you,” said Don Gregory as he rolled up his sleeve for Tara Vaughn, RN to give him the injection.

Thelma Flowers, who is a resident at Vernon Woods, said she hopes to be able to start seeing her family soon as the vaccine becomes more readily available. 

Some residents said they feel like trailblazers as they are among the first in Troup County to receive the vaccine. 

“I feel like a pioneer, leading the way for others,” said Louis Lanier.

Other nursing homes in LaGrange will also soon receive the vaccine, including Suites at Poplar Creek. 

“The paperwork has been signed, and we got a call this week that the vaccines will be coming next Wednesday,” said Executive Director Patrick Crews. “I had the opportunity on Wednesday to go to the Department of Health and get mine along with some members of the staff.” 

A total of 27 residents out of the 28 at Poplar Creek have signed up to receive the vaccine. 

“It has been a very good response from our residents,” Crews said. “I do have staff who are very concerned about it and less 25 percent want to take it.” 

Crews said there will be two opportunities for residents and staff to receive the vaccine. 

“I am hoping those who do not want the shot will change their minds,” Crews said. “I have had no side effects after I received my vaccine.” 

Additionally, residents at Florence Hand Home at Wellstar have also started to receive their vaccines.