MARIPOSA COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- A group of nursing home residents in Mariposa County who received their initial dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine three weeks ago at John C Fremont hospital are now completing their vaccination with their second dose.
"I can hardly wait to give my husband a big hug and give him a kiss," said Patricia Wildt, who was one of the first nursing home residents in the state to get the initial dose.
Meeting her husband is something she hasn't been able to do since March.
The onset of the pandemic meant visitors, like her husband of 32 years, Charles, weren't allowed in person, so they relied on communicating virtually.
Staff is waiting on guidance from the state department of health as to when visitors will be allowed to return, but Patricia holds onto the hope that they're one step closer to reuniting.
Director of skilled nursing Katrina Anderson says, "This is one giant leap closer as far as I'm concerned. We had no hope for opening up prior to this vaccine."
95% of the staff and residents at John C Fremont received their second dose of the vaccine on Thursday.
"My arm was a little bit sore but other than that, no side effects," said Dr. Mimi Carter.
That soreness was minimal compared to the stress she felt treating patients without having the vaccine.
"I feel so much better when I come to work everyday, knowing that I can take care of patients, but I'm not going to get sick from it," Dr. Carter added.
Her kids, Canyon and Evelyn, are already daydreaming about the next adventure they can take.
Mariposa County has already distributed hundreds of vaccines to first responders including sheriff's deputies, firefighters and correctional officers. Yosemite was allotted 200 of those doses.
Dr. Carter said, "The sooner we vaccinate our population, the sooner our businesses open, our economy improves and we get back to normal function"
With the amount of tourists that frequent the national park, the vaccine is another line of defense for the community that sits at its gateway.
"Mariposa has been so organized with this process and we've moved so quickly, I'm pretty proud of the people who have organized our rollout," said Dr. Carter.
While Mariposa County is still in Phase 1A, Dr. Carter said she tells any patient of hers to sign up on the health department website, so they'll be notified when they're eligible to continue the smooth rollout.
Mariposa County starts administering second dose of COVID-19 vaccine