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Local nursing home resident featured at Gov. Cuomo's briefing

Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo
101-year old Freda Bernhardt getting a vaccination against COVID-19 at the Jewish Home of Rochester on Monday.

When Governor Andrew Cuomo talked about nursing homes in New York state starting to get the COVID-19 vaccine at his Monday news conference, a Brighton nursing home resident was among those featured.

When Cuomo talked about the vaccination process beginning, he showed photos of three people getting vaccinated, two in New York City, and one at the Jewish Home of Rochester. And that individual being vaccinated on Monday locally was Freda Bernhardt, who is 101, and actually, she is just one month shy of her 102nd birthday.

Her son, Bob Bernhardt, says his mom watches CNN a lot, she’s aware of the coronavirus, and was willing to be among the first in the state to be vaccinated.

“She’s almost 102 and she’s still in the game and she’s quite cognizant and aware and she knows what’s going on and said, give me the shot.” Bernhardt said that his mom and the family, “talked about it, and she said, 'I don’t know why I might need it at my age,' and we just said that for her benefit and for others around her that they’re trying to get every resident at the home vaccinated and she agreed.”

The administrator of the Jewish Home, Michele Schirano, says about 95% of the nursing home residents, which is around 261 of them, have agreed to be vaccinated.

“A lot of this for our residents and our families, they just want to get back to normal and they do see this as the light at the end of the tunnel for us moving in the right direction as far as (going) back to visitation.” Schirano says vaccinations are being done with the help of staff from CVS and they’ll be back in three weeks to administer the second dose.

Bernhardt says that right now the family communicates with his mom through Facetime or the telephone, but he’s looking forward to the day they can visit her again.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.