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COVID-19 Shots Mean Some Residents At Long-Term Care Facilities Can Hug Family Again

On the left, Marie Heydon, a woman in a black shirt and mask, has her back to the camera while a pharmacist in a white lab coat and blue mask to her right grabs her right arm and injects a syringe into it.
Lucia Starbuck
KUNR Public Radio
Marie Heydon, a life enrichment assistant at The Seasons of Reno, an assisted living facility, receiving her first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine in Reno, Nev., on Wednesday, Feb. 3.

Long-term care facilities have been some of the hardest hit during the pandemic. And now, the COVID-19 vaccine is providing long-awaited relief. As KUNR’s Lucia Starbuck reports, some staff and residents in Reno got their first shot this week.

Pharmacies like CVS have been enlisted to help with the vaccination effort.

The Seasons of Reno is an assisted living facility, and on Wednesday, 81 residents and 50 staff members received their first shot of the two-dose vaccine. Marie Heydon was one of them.

When asked what the vaccine means to her, Heydon had this one word to say: “Freedom.”

Heydon organizes activities for the seniors and is excited about what the shots will eventually mean to all of them.

"That they get to go out again, and they get to be a part of their family again, you know, hugging and touching, and being a part of their own inner community on top of this community. Even from my perspective, the activities, you know, being able to do outings with them, being able to have them participate out of these walls,” Heydon said.

According to the state’s dashboard, 23 residents and 10 staff members at The Seasons of Reno have tested positive for COVID-19 during the pandemic. Eight residents have lost their lives.

Heydon and others vaccinated at the facility are just one of the nearly 8% of Nevadans who’ve received their first shot. Only a little over 1% have received both doses.

Nevada is also currently vaccinating adults over the age of 75. If you have trouble accessing the internet or need assistance to make an appointment, the state has set up a vaccination call center. Calls will be answered from eight in the morning until eight at night, seven days a week. That number is1-800-401-0946.

Lucia Starbuck is a corps member with Report for America, an initiative of the Ground Truth Project.

Lucia Starbuck is an award-winning political journalist and the host of KUNR’s monthly show Purple Politics Nevada. She is passionate about reporting during election season, attending community events, and talking to people about the issues that matter most to them.
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