SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – After months in isolation, residents are finally getting a step closer to normalcy after taking the first round of the vaccine.
Pattie Fitzpatrick has been living at the Good Samaritan Society Sioux Falls Village for a little over year now. 10 months of that have been spent in isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“At times, we’ve had to stay in our rooms because of the COVID-19 virus being in the facility, and that creates a lot of loneliness,” Fitzpatrick said.
However, through all of this, Fitzpatrick hasn’t been entirely alone. She lives with her mother Bettie.
“We’re each other’s best friend. And it’s reassuring to our family too that we have each other to look out for each other,” Fitzpatrick said.
On Wednesday, Fitzpatrick and her mom were two of 130 residents to get the Pfizer vaccine.
“We both definitely wanted it. It’s a means to an end,” Fitzpatrick said.
Also getting vaccinated were the Good Samaritan staff. Village Administrator Alecia O’Neill got her shot at Sanford two weeks ago.
“Very humbling experience and just really carried my team with me that day. As I was standing, waiting for it, just thinking back about all we’ve been through together,” O’Neill said.
“We’ve lost some people throughout the last several months from COVID,” Fitzpatrick said.
To Fitzpatrick and her mom, getting a shot in the arm was nothing compared to the pain felt by all over the last 10 months.
“It wasn’t painful. It wasn’t hard at all. It was just really easy, and it’s an easy thing to do, like I said, that has such a big impact,” Fitzpatrick said.
Especially an emotional one.
“Want our family back in. We want our family to be able to come visit us and be able to physically hug them, have that physical contact with them,” Fitzpatrick said.
O’Neill says the vaccine is bringing a lot of them comfort but it’s injected them with even more hope.
“I think, that’s that sense of hope and a renewed energy of, ‘Ok, we can get through this. We’ve got this coming. That’s one more step in the right direction that we can keep going together,’” O’Neill said.
Fitzpatrick and her mom will get their second round of the vaccine on January 20th.