Gerry Nursing Home Resident Gets COVID-19 Vaccine On 101st Birthday

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GERRY – A nursing home resident in Gerry received the COVID-19 vaccine, just in time for her 101st birthday.

Helen Merrill, a resident at Heritage Ministries’ The Village, recently celebrated what nursing home officials say are two very memorable milestones.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Heritage Ministries President and CEO Lisa Haglund says a traditional party was not possible, however, staff made sure Merrill had a special day full of celebration after her vaccination; with a festive window visit from her family.

“We are blessed beyond measure that our prayers have been heard, and that our residents and healthcare heroes in our skilled nursing communities were among the first to be given the option to receive the vaccine,” said Haglund. “While we remain respectful of the right to choose vaccination, for the first time in almost a year, our most vulnerable population and skilled nursing staff have an individual choice in how they will fight COVID-19, and we are so appreciative of our local, state, and federal agencies for recognizing this need.”

The vaccination processed started in December, and so far, Haglund says over 80 percent of residents and 25 percent employees have chosen to be vaccinated against COVID-19. They will need a second dose until the vaccination process is complete.

The daughter of a local farmer, and born and raised in Chautauqua County, Merrill says she has enjoyed being able to be a wife and mother of three, as well as a grandmother and great grandmother.

In April 2020 she moved to Gerry, calling The Village home. Merrill says that her most important advice to anyone looking to live a long, happy life is “hard work.”


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