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Family hopeful as Alabama nursing homes prepare for coronavirus vaccine

According to the Alabama Nursing Home Association, nursing homes may start receiving Pfizer's vaccine by the end of this month.

Posted: Dec 18, 2020 5:24 PM
Updated: Dec 18, 2020 10:50 PM

Since the start of the pandemic, more than 1,400 nursing home residents in Alabama have died from coronavirus.

However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

According to the Alabama Nursing Home Association, nursing homes may start receiving Pfizer's vaccine by the end of this month. It is through a federal partnership with three pharmacies, Walgreens, CVS and Senior Care.

This news comes as families have been unable to visit their loved ones for months in-person.

This includes Debby Jennings. For the past 9 months, she has had to visit her 86-year-old mother with dementia, through a window.

She has been staying at Barfield Health Care in Guntersville for two years.

"You know, I just can't go in and hug her and love her and just show her how much I love her and wish I was there with her," Jennings said.

Even if it is through a window, she said she has made the commitment to showing up and showing her support for her mother.

However, for a long time, it had seemed like she would never be able to physically touch her mother like before. But in a matter of weeks, her mom could be administered the first dose of the vaccine.

"After that, and after the second vaccine, there's hope that we can go into her room and shower her love and just make up for 9 months we haven't been able to do that," Jennings said.

Granddaughter and ICU nurse Kasey Jennings is confident in her family's decision. In fact, she was just vaccinated with a first dose on Thursday.

"When I got the vaccine, I did not even feel it," Kasey said. "I'm about 36 hours out, I'm a little achy today, not terribly and my arm is sore and that is all."

She admits she had some reservations about it initially. But Kasey sees firsthand how deadly and devastating the virus can be, so she chose to trust science.

The decision was not just about her, but for her family.

"I haven't kissed my child since March, kissed him on the top of the head and hug him," Kasey said. "It's just this hesitancy of, am I carrying it and just don't know it?"

The Jennings are now looking forward to that day when they can be together, without those hesitations.

At Barfield Health Care, it hopes to start administering the vaccines in the first few weeks of January. It has already sent out consent forms.

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