In the last days of 2020, residents of The William Breman Jewish Home and Jewish HomeLife staff received the first in a two-shot series of the COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by Pfizer pharmaceuticals and BioNTech.
Frances Manheim, a 96-year-old resident of the Breman Home, wanted to be vaccinated for the best of reasons. “It’s the hardest thing in the world not to be able to see my family,” she said in a video clip provided by JHL. Seeing family through a screen has its limits. “I want to touch them. I want to feel them. I want to hold ‘em. I miss that.”
After receiving the first dose on Dec. 29, the second was administered three weeks later, on Jan. 19, 2021.
JHL’s goal was to vaccinate all the residents at the facilities it operates, as well as all of its employees. Vaccinations were seen as a key step thwarting the virus that had hit Georgia’s long-term care facilities hard, accounting for 37 percent of the state’s COVID-related deaths.
“Definitely, this vaccine is truly the next step in protecting residents, our residents’ families, our staff, our staff families, and in essence we’re doing what’s right by the community. This is how we are going to move from this world of COVID,” Jeff Gopen, JHL’s chief operating officer, said.