COVID-19 vaccine distributed to Houston-area nursing homes

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- At 91 years young, Blanche Abramson says she hasn't been this excited, in a long, long time.

"I've never wanted to have a shot," said the long-time resident of Brookdale Senior Living. "But I've been looking forward to this one."

Abramson is among the first group of residents at Brookdale's Galleria location to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Dressed in a sunny yellow shirt and a necklace with pendants representing her grandchildren, she eagerly waited for CVS employees to get the doses ready.

"Wonderfully happy that I'm going to get the shot," she said.

Down the hall, a number of other residents and staffers waited for their turn.

"It's exciting. It's overwhelming, but it's a joyous feeling," said Andrea Henry, Brookdale Galleria's medical administrator.

Henry was the first person in the facility to get vaccinated on Monday. Henry says her facility has been lucky, with just a few COVID-19 cases.

However, many nursing homes have far more dire statistics. According to the Texas Department of Health and Human Services, thousands of nursing home and assisted living residents have died of COVID-19 since the pandemic began.

As of Dec. 28, here is the breakdown:

  • Total nursing home oubreaks: 1,210
  • Total residents who tested positive: 61,257
  • Total residents who recovered: 36,483
  • Total residents who died: 6,635


Vaccinating residents and staff at nursing and assisted living facilities are being managed by the federal government. Facilities like Brookdale had to register in October if they wanted to be contacted for the first wave of vaccines. The City of Houston said this week it is contacting those nursing facilities that did not register to make sure they will have access to vaccines.

Abramson and other residents who got their initial shots on Tuesday will get a second dose in three weeks.

In the meantime, she already has her sparkly mask ready to ring in 2021.



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