Long-term care facilities in San Antonio getting Pfizer vaccine

Vaccine said to offer residents hope, freedom

Residents and staff members of long-term care facilities receive COVID-19 vaccine

SAN ANTONIO – After seeing residents isolating in their rooms for nearly 10 months, Julie McCarty, executive director of Shavano Park Senior Living, said being given the vaccine Monday, “was enabling me to give them some sense of normalcy back.”

McCarty said she, nine staff members and 31 out of 55 residents at the assisted living facility received the first of two doses of the highly anticipated Pfizer vaccine. Due to time constraints, she said CVS pharmacy staff will be back two more times to vaccinate the rest of the residents, except for three who declined to receive it.

She said 24 hours after getting the vaccine, no one has reported getting side effects.

“Everybody is doing well,” McCarty said.

A positive side effect of getting the vaccine will be the eventual sense of freedom that many of McCarty’s residents had lost, such as being able to go shopping, visit with friends and families and being there for family milestones.

“This is their home and we are guests in their home and they can finally get back to living as if it is home.” McCarty said.

Tracy Holmes said knowing that her 80-year-old mother Carole Austin has gotten the vaccine offers that sense of hope and reunion.

“We would be able to be with her again and not have to visit through a window,” Holmes said.

The window is where Holmes said her mother saw one of her two grandchildren who was born after the pandemic began.

Holmes said the staff at the assisted living facility deserve accolades for taking care of their loved ones during such a critical time.

They have not only had to be caregivers, but they’ve had to be interim family members for us,” Holmes said. “I’m glad they got the vaccine and that they’re the first in line to receive it as well.”

However, even with the vaccine, McCarty said, “Until we receive further guidance from the CDC and local health authorities, we’ll continue with the same protocols we’ve had.”

About the Authors:

Jessie Degollado has been with KSAT since 1984. She is a general assignments reporter who covers a wide variety of stories. Raised in Laredo and as an anchor/reporter at KRGV in the Rio Grande Valley, Jessie is especially familiar with border and immigration issues. In 2007, Jessie also was inducted into the San Antonio Women's Hall of Fame.

William Caldera has been at KSAT since 2003. He covers a wide range of stories including breaking news, weather, general assignments and sports.