Charleston family: ‘we’re thrilled’ about vaccinations in long-term care facilities

Published: Dec. 15, 2020 at 11:35 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Several deliveries of the COVID-19 vaccine were delivered Monday to nursing homes and long-term care facilities throughout West Virginia.

And with more doses expected to make their arrival on Tuesday, families like the Smallridges couldn’t be more excited.

“(My sister) called me (Monday) evening and said she was going to be vaccinated between eight and ten tomorrow morning,” said Jim Smallridge. “I’m just so thrilled. It’s just another step in the right direction.”

In a pre-COVID world, Smallridge and his sister Carla got to visit and see one another at least four times a week. Due to the pandemic and COVID lockdowns at long-term care facilities in the last six months, they’ve only seen each other twice.

“They had shut things down, then opened it back up for 30-minute visits and then things got worse again,” Smallridge told WSAZ. “Then as a safety measure, rightfully so, they shut it down again so I’ve not seen her face-to-face, actually in person, since summer.”

WSAZ was there to capture their first reunion in three months back in June, but Smallridge said he was only able to see Carla one time after that before things went on lockdown again.

He said Carla has been tested repeatedly in her facility but has never tested positive.

Carla told WSAZ she was happy to be up next for the vaccination.

“I know the end to all this is a ways away but I feel this is a step closer to bringing it to an end,” she said.

During the last nine months, the Smallridge family has adapted. In September, they even threw Carla her 65th birthday party through the window.

“I have two brothers and I miss both of them (as well as) my nieces and nephews,” Carla told WSAZ. “They had my birthday party through my window, (and) I wanted to be out there with them. I just think (the vaccine) is a chance, I don’t know why anyone wouldn’t get it.”

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