HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- Ever since a global pandemic took over our lives, 94-year-old Marjorie Adams has lived inside the four walls of her room at Westport Rehab and Nursing Center on Forest Avenue in Henrico.
"I've been in solitary confinement in this room," Adams said via a Zoom call from her room on Wednesday afternoon. "We had to be isolated, I appreciate all that I know."
But, on Wednesday she got a literal shot of hope, which was the first of two shots of the COVID-19 vaccine.
"It went fine, it didn't hurt or anything, it was quick," Adams said. "I have been waiting and praying that they would get something...so yes, and I would suggest everybody get it."
Adams is one of about 200 residents at Westport who got vaccinated on Wednesday.
Governor Ralph Northam even stopped by to watch a few of them roll up their sleeves.
"We're off to a good start, we've vaccinated over 50,000 individuals in Virginia," Northam said.
Approximately 150 frontline workers at Westport, like CNA Tiffany Gooden, also got a shot.
"I'm relieved, I'm relieved honestly that we do have the vaccine," Gooden said.
Gooden expressed some nerves over receiving a brand new vaccine, but in the end decided the risk was worth the reward.
"I have a small child. I was worried about catching it, but I haven't caught it yet so I said why not get the vaccine?" Gooden said.
Keith Hare, the president and CEO of the Virginia Health Care Association, advocates on behalf of long-term care facilities in the state.
He said he is encouraging all staff and residents to put their fears aside and get vaccinated.
"We would highly encourage them to take the vaccine. It's proven to be very safe," Hare said.
He said as of Wednesday, about 20 percent of residents and staff at all long term care facilities in the Commonwealth have received their first shot.
"The hope is that in the next 3-4 weeks that everyone, staff and residents in nursing facilities across Virginia, will receive the first dose of the vaccine," Hare said.
Everyone who receives their first shot, will get a second shot in about three weeks, and then about a week later they will have immunity against COVID-19, according to Hare.
Most patients with COVID-19 have mild to moderate symptoms. However, in a small proportion of patients, COVID-19 can lead to more severe illness, including death, particularly among those who are older or those who have chronic medical conditions.
COVID-19 spreads primarily through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
Symptoms include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Symptoms appear within 14 days of being exposed to an infectious person.
Virginia health officials urged the following precautions:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer only if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Avoid contact with sick people.
- Avoid non-essential travel.