Lake Morton Plaza Vaccinates Living Assistance Residents
by James Coulter
Peggy Snow is 90 years old. She may not expect to live 90 more years, but she does want to live long enough to see her family in person.
Like many living assistance residents at Lake Morton Plaza in Lakeland, she has remained on lockdown during the COVID-19 crisis to prevent herself and other residents from contracting the disease.
While she loves Lake Morton and considers its staff to be like family members, she yearns to see her other family members. She has seen her two daughters but no one else.
For this reason, Snow was more than eager to finally receive the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine during a mass vaccination event on Thursday and Friday at the living assistance apartment complex.
“It did not hurt at all,” Snow said.
She has lived at Lake Morton Plaza for the past six years. She loves the facility and its residents, but like everyone else, she would love to see her real family safely. Otherwise, she has been doing well, all things considered.
“[I enjoy] just living my life as I have been doing,” she said. “I love my life, and I love where I live.”
Snow was one of the many Lake Morton Plaza residents who received the vaccine last Thursday. As the building is 10-stories tall, half of the residents were vaccinated from the top five to six floors, along with half of the other staff. The other half of residents and staff received the remaining vaccines the next day, explained Ashely Hochadel, Administrator and Executive Director.
“Everyone has been vaccinated,” Hochadel said. “The vaccines went very smoothly. Everything went well. We had everything pre-planned. All the paperwork taken care of ahead of time, they knocked everybody out in three hours.”
The Pfizer vaccine was administered, as it was the brand provided through Walgreens, the pharmacy which Lake Morton Plaza partnered with to administer the vaccinations.
Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are administered through two doses. The second dose will be distributed to residents and staff 21 days later on Feb. 11.
As with most other vaccinations, side effects are expected to be minimal, with a sore arm and headache at the least and flu-like symptoms like fever, chills, and body aches at the worst, Hochadel said.
As such, many residents were hesitant about receiving the vaccine, mostly since it was relatively new. Nevertheless, most, if not all, residents were satisfied, if not finally relieved, to receive protection from an especially deadly virus for them.
“The overall feeling was excitement because this might mean the masks and lockdowns in the assisted living facility might end soon, [and] their families may be able to come and visit them soon,” Hochadel said. “They exceeded expectations. The pharmacists were very efficient. The residents were quick to get up there and in line, we are very happy.”