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Restart our lives: Culpeper senior residents, staff to get COVID-19 vaccine
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Restart our lives: Culpeper senior residents, staff to get COVID-19 vaccine

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Dee Brooking, a resident at The Culpeper, shared a very personal reason for why she will gratefully get the COVID-19 vaccination on Tuesday as the retirement community administers first doses for staff and residents.

“I really couldn’t wait,” she said in a recent series of video posts on the community’s Facebook page. “Long ago, my father had polio and he died of polio because there was not a vaccine available at the time. I’ve always thought I would have had a father if the vaccine had been invented.”

Brooking added she is tired of hiding behind a mask and wants to see her great grandchildren she hasn’t seen in almost a year.

“I just want to live again and I know that you do, too. So please consider very, very carefully whether you will get the vaccine – I think you should,” Brooking said.

In partnership with Walgreen’s and Virginia Dept. of Health, 90 staff members and 140 residents of The Culpeper will receive the first dose of the novel coronavirus vaccine starting at 8:30 a.m.

“Tomorrow cannot get here soon enough,” said Rose Meeks Wallace, spokeswoman for The Culpeper, on Monday.

All staff and residents will receive their second dose on Feb. 3, she said.

Resident Council President Joan Blackwell encouraged everyone to take the vaccine when available.

“We are all very much looking forward to it. Hopefully it will keep us from spreading and it will keep you from spreading to your parents and grandparents,” she said. “None of us would like to have that on our minds that we have spread the virus and consider we don’t want to get it either.”

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Retirement community resident Philip Clark echoed that sentiment.

“We have all been wondering when on earth are we going to get rid of this virus and now the chance has finally come,” he said in the video series. “Here we have a chance to do something not only for ourselves, but also for others. If we don’t have the virus we can’t spread it to anybody else. That’s our way of doing something for somebody other than ourselves also. I hope that we all do it, get in line for that shot and take it.”

Curtis Brooking, who lives with his wife, Dee, at The Culpeper, said he is ready for a new beginning with arrival of the COVID-19 vaccine. He said the “normal” of yesterday has become a thing of the past.

“As we look now with hope and with anticipation of the vaccine being available, it lays out before us an opportunity to begin to restart our lives where there is hope and encouragement,” Mr. Brooking said. “I would encourage people to move forward with getting the vaccine.”

Residents of long-term care facilities like The Culpeper are among the top two priority groups of Virginians receiving the vaccine first along with healthcare personnel – some 480,000 people, according to Virginia Dept. of Health.

Orange Family Physicians staff were among those to receive COVID-19 vaccinations from Rappahannock Rapidan Health District officials at an administration clinic last week at Reva Volunteer Fire Department in Culpeper County, according to the Orange County Review.

Culpeper Health and Rehab Center, which like The Culpeper had experienced a COVID-19 outbreak, is also preparing for its initial doses of vaccinations.

“We are so grateful to be among the first in line to receive this critical vaccine and are honored to roll up our sleeves, and do our part in putting this pandemic behind us,” according to a recent Facebook post. “This year has been difficult for all, but we are full of hope for the breakthrough this vaccine promises, the end of a hard fought battle and that is something to celebrate!”

COVID-19 community spread continues in the Rappahannock-Rapidan Health District even as vaccine rollout continues.

VDH reported weekly increase of 232 positive cases in Culpeper County as of Monday, Jan. 11; 158 more cases in Fauquier and 88 more cases in Orange County.

VDH reported 20 new hospitalizations in the local health district as of Monday, compared to a week ago, with 10 of those in Fauquier County. Three new COVID-19 deaths were reported in the local health district in the past week for a total of 75 people.

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