Good Samaritan Society sees high rates of booster vaccines

The rising COVID-19 numbers in South Dakota is a reminder that the pandemic is far from over. But there’s hopeful news coming out of local nursing homes.
Published: Jan. 13, 2022 at 4:12 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - The rising COVID-19 numbers in South Dakota is a reminder that the pandemic is far from over. But there’s hopeful news coming out of local nursing homes, and the number of residents getting booster vaccines climbs.

Good Samaritan Society states that in it’s nursing homes, more than 90 percent of residents are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The national average sits at 87 percent. However, GSS also reports that nearly 90 percent of their eligible residents have received a booster vaccine, compared to the national average of 63 percent.

It’s puts the staff and residents at GSS Sioux Falls Village in a much different position than they were a year ago, when vaccines were just starting to roll out.

“The last two years have taught us so many different things,” said GSS Nursing & Clinical Services Consultant DeeAndra Sandgren. “And I think as we approach now, with when we have the vaccine and we have the booster available. It’s a very different feeling as we approach this next round of pandemic.”

That high rate of vaccination and booster vaccines has made a difference in the daily lives of staff and residents. Not only is the added protection against the virus a plus for all, it allows residents to return to some normalcy with visitors and daily activities.

Gordon Lovell, a Sioux Falls Village resident, said he was more than eager to get vaccinated and get a booster dose when both came out. Lovell said he went more than a year at the beginning of the pandemic without seeing his wife. Now, he can see her twice a week.

“Which is important for me, to make me feel a lot better about myself, and also I’m sure about herself. Because she means the world to me.” said Lovell.

Because vaccination rates are high within GSS facilities, there hasn’t been many restrictions to the daily lives of residents. It’s also helping them keep cases down with the current spike across the state. Sandgren said according to the CDC, nursing home residents who received a booster doe are ten times less likely to contract COVID-19.

“As widespread as it is right now, it’s great to know that our residents can continue living they’re lives the way they want to, and based on the fullest with still getting to see their families and enjoying their everyday activities.” said Sandgren.

Lovell said he’s seen firsthand how vaccinations have turned things around in Sioux Falls Village. He said since the rollout of both the initial vaccines and booster doses, less of his fellow residents have gotten sick or died from COVID-19. And he urges others to do their part in keeping everyone healthy.

“The one thing I really think is if you love yourself, and you love your family, you will get a vaccine. It is very, very important.” said Lovell.

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