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Nursing home vaccinations begin in Louisiana

“I feel like we’re turning a corner. I feel like this is the first step, even though we don’t know what comes next,” said Kolb.

NEW ORLEANS — “Let your arm relax, breathe through your nose, little stick,” said CVS pharmacy manager Carl Thibodeaux as he prepped to give one of dozens of COVID-19 vaccines Wednesday.

Quick and easy, Nicole Williams got her first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. She and her mother, Despina Williams, got their shots outside for Eyewitness News cameras Wednesday.

Inside, for hours, Poydras Home residents and staff got their first shots of the two-dose vaccine.

“We are both very excited, very excited. Wonderful. It’s a great day,” said Despina Williams.

As of Tuesday, nearly 38,000 people in Louisiana had received the first shot of the two-part vaccine.  Following medical workers, nursing home residents and staff are part of distribution phase 1.

Poydras Home assisted living, nursing home residents, and independent residents were all given access at the first clinic Wednesday.

The Williams ladies say staff broke into applause when Thibodeaux and Xavier University pharmacy student Bianca Lloyd walked through the door to start vaccinating.

“I think it’s been a great day, I mean just for the families for the staff, for everyone at Poydras Home. Really, for everybody everywhere. You know, just thanking the doctors, the scientists, globally for all their hard work that they did. I really do feel that today is a great day,” said Williams.

Poydras Home CEO Erin Kolb got her shot Wednesday, too, and proudly wore her vaccination sticker.

“I feel like we’re turning a corner. I feel like this is the first step, even though we don’t know what comes next,” said Kolb.

Outdoor, socially distant visits have been the only way for families to connect during 2020. Poydras Hoe has been using heaters and a plexiglass barrier and masks so families can visit with loved ones safely.

But nursing homes across the country are optimistic that normal visits may be more within reach with every shot.

“We couldn’t have asked for a better gift for the beginning of 2021,” said Kolb.

The CVS team will be back at the end of January to give residents and staff their second dose of the Moderna vaccine.

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