'I feel safe.' Dozens get COVID-19 vaccine at senior living community in Murfreesboro after delay

Vaccines distributed at Rutherford Assisted Living
Posted at 5:57 PM, Jan 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-19 11:37:14-05

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WTVF) — Seniors at Rutherford Assisted Living and Rutherford Memory Care are a step closer to hugging their loved ones again.

After a longer than expected wait, they were finally able to roll up their sleeves on Monday for their COVID-19 vaccines.

Originally, the facility was told assisted living communities didn't fall under the long-term care umbrella.

"To know that in the next 90 or 120 days they'll get to see their loved ones, that's what we're aiming for," said Joy Ash-Galland, the executive director.

The senior living community vaccinated all 94 residents at the first vaccine clinic.

"It's a big day for us," said Wanda Norwood. "I feel safe. I feel like we'll be safe."

92-year-old Wanda Norwood said she misses her 13 grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren.

"Grandma's arms want to do some hugging!" Norwood said.

Most residents have not been in the same room as their relatives since March.

"That has been the hardest," said Peggy Jordan. "I have a new great-granddaughter that I haven't been able to hold. I've seen pictures, but I haven't been able to hold her."

The residents will get their second dose of the vaccine in 28 days. They won't have to leave the building for that dose either.

"I'm grateful that it was made possible for me to do that. Not just for myself or my family, but for everyone that I come into contact with," Jordan said.

Rutherford Assisted Living and Rutherford Memory Care will continue to follow the protocols from the CDC until told otherwise.

"Right now we do have a 100-percent participation with our residents, but our new residents may not have that vaccine or may not have it available yet, so we still have to keep them safe," said Ash-Galland.