BALTIMORE (WJZ) — COVID-19 vaccinations have begun being administered Wednesday for residents and staff at Maryland’s nursing homes and long-term rehabilitation centers.

They are among the priority groups to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, following doctors, nurses and hospital staff in the state.

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By the end of the day, all residents and 80% of staff members at the Franklin Woods Center in Baltimore County were set to get the vaccine.

Among those who got the shot were 70-year-old Samuel Cushing and 95-year-old Kareleen Diggs.

“I wanted to be first in line. I read about it and I’ve heard about it and that was my decision,” Diggs, who was second in line at Franklin Woods, said.

Nursing homes were among the early epicenters of the virus’ spread in Maryland and elsewhere because it attacks people with compromised immune systems.

Data from the Maryland Department of Health shows people ages 60 and older are four times more likely to die from COVID-19.

Gov. Larry Hogan called Wednesday a “hopeful day” in the fight against the virus. He also asked that people be patient as the state distributes the vaccines.

Once all the nursing home and long-term rehab facilities are vaccinated, senior living facilities are next.

“The goal would be to get everyone vaccinated as quickly as possible,” Hogan said.

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He added that as soon as the vaccines are received in Maryland, they are sent to facilities.

The first health care provider at Frankin Woods Center, a Baltimore County nursing home, exclaimed in excitement after receiving the vaccine, “that’s it!”

She got a round of applause and laughed, telling the next staffer, “you’ll be fine!”

 

 

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For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

Ava-joye Burnett