Maplewood at Twinsburg receives COVID-19 vaccine

April Helms
Kent Weeklies
Jacqueline Rozanc, at Maplewood at Twinsburg, gets the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

TWINSBURG – Several staff and residents at Maplewood at Twinsburg rolled up their sleeves to get the COVID-19 vaccine earlier this month.

“I didn’t even hesitate, for me there really is not an option to think about it,”  said Susan Krupitzer, the  executive director. “My arm was sore at the injection site the following day, and for a day or so a wave of exhaustion passed by but only for brief moments the first two days following.”

Facilities such as nursing home and assisted living places were among the first destinations for the new COVID-19 vaccines in Ohio.

Krupitzer said that she remembered hearing stories from her grandparents about the Spanish Flu and whooping cough, and how those were “a scary time to live through.”

“My great-aunt was affected by polio, and I remember her troubles with walking,” said Krupitzer, who lived in Aurora with her husband for 10 years before moving to Macedonia about 11 years ago.

In the past, diseases “took a long time to get under control due to resources back in the day.”  Krupitzer said.

“Today, we have the resources, but everyone is so much more mobile and exposure is far greater for the spread of a pandemic,” she said. “I wholeheartedly believe that vaccines and the talented minds behind them are essential to the greater good, especially in the 21st century. We are able to have a reassurance of not thinking we have more illnesses at the slight development of a symptom.  It is so scary now if we have a cough, a sore throat, a headache, feel nauseated, exhausted, etc., and wonder is it COVID or allergies or a simple cold?”

The COVID-19 pandemic has been stressful for anyone in the healthcare industry, said Krupitzer.

“It has impacted the stressors on hours worked due to concerns of families and residents in which our obligation to them is to ensure their comfort and safety,” she said. “Staffing has been affected as staff and loved ones have been exposed and some fell ill.”

Krupitzer said that she has “gotten through it one day at a time.” She added that life was further complicated when her husband was diagnosed with lymphoma in the fall of 2019 and underwent chemotherapy. 

“We essentially have been living in a bubble and on quarantine since October of 2019 until the quarantine of COVID hit,” she said.

Alfons Fliegel, one of the residents at Maplewood at Twinsburg who received the first round of vaccines, said he grew up “all over, and left Poland at age 18 when World War II broke out. He said that the pandemic has had him stay at home, “but that’s OK with me.”

“The vaccine is valuable and people should take advantage of it,” Fliegel said of the vaccinations. “If it helps, why not take it?”

Dr. Octubre Reyes, another resident at Maplewood at Twinsburg who took the vaccine, said all of his children “had all of their vaccines.”

“Because it is the responsible thing to do,” Reyes said.

Greg Lyzen, an associate with Maplewood at Twinsburg, said he opted to get the vaccine “to help show the spread of COVID.” He added that he “seemed a little more thirsty than normal” the first day after getting the immunization but “by the next morning I felt fine, with just a sore arm at the injection site.”

Lyzen, who lives in Streetsboro, said he felt that “generally speaking, vaccines in my opinion are vital to slow the disease and help save lives.”

“I had elderly neighbors that refused to get vaccinated for the flu and both fell ill and passed away within hours of each other,” he said. “That was all the convincing I needed.”

The best chance of slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus is to “get as much educational information out to people about the vaccine and its low incidents of side-effects, and how it can return life as we once knew to normal. We’ll have a chance at slowing the spread and conquering COVID,” Lyzen said.

Lyzen said he has three children and a grandchild “I haven’t seen but for a moment since COVID started.”

“We all live in different bubbles to stay safe, and limit visits with one another,” Lyzen said. “Also working at Maplewood Senior Living, I am always concerned about our residents and their safety as well.  Being vaccinated helps relieve my concerns about their well-being and health.”

Gregory D. Smith, the president and CEO of Maplewood Senior living, said that those with the facilities were “thrilled to be included as part of the first wave of distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine, and feel optimistic that it will add an extra line of defense as we continue working to protect our residents, associates and greater communities.” 

“We want nothing more than to be a part of the solution,” Smith said. “We are hopeful that the vaccine will aid us in our commitment to help our residents get back to living their most fulfilling version of life as soon as they possibly can. While we are excited to begin the roll-out of the vaccine program, Maplewood Senior Living will remain diligent in exercising precautionary measures including: intensive cleaning and disinfecting protocols; weekly testing, or more frequently as needed, of all associates; private duty aides and vendors; and enhanced screening of residents and visitors." 

Krupitzer said she would “urge everyone to take this virus and pandemic seriously so that we all can return to a sense of normalcy again, see our loved ones and hug them without fear.” 

“The warm embrace of a loved one is so important to our emotional health and we have done without for long enough,” Krupitzer said. “All healthcare workers out there are indeed heroes, taking part in the longest marathon that many of us will live through. I extend my gratitude to everyone out there following the guidelines to help make a difference.”

The second dose of the vaccine will be available starting Jan. 30, said a representative for Maplewood at Twinsburg..

Reporter April Helms can be reached at ahelms@thebeaconjournal.com