On Thursday, residents and employees at the "Tut" Fann State Veterans Home in Huntsville will begin receiving the coronavirus vaccine.
Kent Davis, the state commissioner for the Department of Veterans Affairs, says being able to distribute this vaccine is a big milestone for them after what has been a tough monthslong battle with this pandemic.
"I really do think this is an important tool, and that light at the end of the tunnel is getting bigger and bigger," he said.
Davis said the pandemic has been tough on both their residents and their staff.
"We started this battle as early as March 10, 2020, and we're aware not only of the physical impact that COVID-19 has taken on our residents and their families and our staff members, as well, who have had a tough nine months, but we're also aware of the mental impacts this has had," he said.
On Thursday, residents and staff will get their vaccine three at a time and be monitored for 15 minutes for any side effects afterwards. Davis said they did receive enough doses of the vaccine to give to every resident and staff member at each of their facilities.
The department already began vaccinations at one of their other facilities in the state and said about 90% of the residents were vaccinated, which he says is a good thing.
"We really see this vaccination program as a huge milestone that, hopefully, can get us soon back in normal operations, mainly, we can take care of those residents and their families. Let them spend real time with their loved ones," he said.
The vaccine is not mandatory for the residents or staff, but Davis says they have strongly encouraged everyone to get vaccinated. Everybody who isn't able to receive the vaccine on Thursday will have another chance later this month.