Residents and staff at Ocean Springs Health and Rehab Center receive COVID-19 vaccine

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Hoping for change, Ocean Springs Health and Rehab Center administered the Pfizer vaccine to their residents and staff.

After 25 years working at the Ocean Springs Health and Rehab Center, April Hedert, director of business services, was confident in her decision to receive the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine. “I was excited. I was very excited. I may get a little emotional. It’s been rough watching residents or family members get sick from this.”

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Parents and administrators are both excited to receive the COVID vaccine. They feel this is really the only way to get back to how life was 11 months ago. Resident Beverly Glass said, “Go outside and do whatever I can do. I thank them. It’s very nice of them. We need it.”

About 80 percent of seniors living on the property agreed to take the COVID vaccine. Director of Operations Kris Drake tells News 25 keeping patients educated about the vaccine made them want it more. “Clear up some of the misnomers about the vaccine to give people more confidence at entertaining the vaccine.”

Administrator Mary Ann Loiselle said, “Our company has one great providing us with all the information that we need, prayer, and I just felt like it was the right thing to do.”

While five percent of the county’s cases have occurred in long-term facilities, deaths related to COVID-19 in these facilities account for about 36 percent of pandemic fatalities. “To hear our leader talk about what we have been through and what our patients have been through and their families haven’t been inside in 11 months. We haven’t had dining in 11 months. We haven’t played games in 11 months and to hear him talk about that process that we’ve all been through just meant a lot.”

“Our patients need this. Our families need this. Life hasn’t been the same since COVID started.”

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Toni started at WXXV News 25 in December of 2013, just three months after the news was launched. She has served as Assignment Editor, anchored for nearly two years, worked as a reporter for several years and hosted Coastal Connections for more than four years. Toni graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Southern Mississippi where she was editor of the Student Printz. She then did an internship on Capitol Hill, working for a U.S. Senator, then returned to Mississippi as a reporter at WDAM in Hattiesburg. After that, she moved to the Mississippi Gulf Coast, working as a reporter for FOX 25 in Biloxi, then crossing city lines to work at WLOX-TV news in Biloxi, starting out as a producer, then working as a photographer, reporter, weekend assignment editor and weekend anchor. She was among the station team that won the Edward Murrow and Peabody awards for coverage during Hurricane Katrina. Toni moved to the Lone Star State where she worked as the morning and noon anchor, investigative reporter and live shot reporter for KZTV Action 10 News, then KRIS TV News in Corpus Christi, Texas. Toni moved back to the Magnolia State to be with and take care of her family, working as a multi-media journalist and fill-in anchor at WDBD Fox 40 news in Jackson. After almost completing a second degree in filmmaking at the University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast, Toni transitioned back to news at News 25. Toni is blessed to have a wonderful support network of close family, friends and mentors, and she hopes to pay it forward. She has a three-legged chiweenie named Rocky Balboa because of his fighting spirit. She loves writing and has completed a novel that has been adapted into a screenplay, and has just finished another screenplay called "Delta Rose." She's currently working on a new legal thriller called "Fall From Grace." Stay tuned....