Diane Hildreth didn’t hesitate to get the COVID-19 vaccine because it meant she’d be one step closer to hugging her children and grandchildren again.
“FaceTime has been great, but I’m looking forward to the hugs and the smooches,” says the 65-year-old grandmother of four. “It’s been hard not being able to spend time with them.”
Hildreth and her husband, Willard, have already received their first dose of vaccine from Tidelands Health and are scheduled for their second dose in early April.
They are among thousands of people across our region who have received the vaccine from the health system, our region’s leader in COVID-19 vaccination. To date, Tidelands Health has administered about 46,000 doses of vaccine – more than any other provider in our region.
“We are very grateful we had the shot,” says Hildreth. “We can’t give Tidelands enough praise. It was a very smooth process – all the staff were excellent and should be a model to others.”
Stuck amid the pandemic
Hildreth and her husband have spent more than a year living in their RV at a camping resort in Myrtle Beach. The snowbirds from the Philadelphia area had planned to stay a few months when they arrived early last year. Then the pandemic hit.
“It’s a tough place to get stuck,” Hildreth jokes. “We felt kind of bad when we talked to people being that we are right next to the ocean.”
Book your vaccination appointment today
It’s easier than ever to receive your COVID-19 vaccine. If you’re in Phase 1a or 1b, call 1-833-6-MYSHOT (1-833-669-7468) to schedule. Or schedule online or by chat at tidelandshealth.org/vaccine.
The couple have rarely ventured out because of the pandemic. Hildreth, who has type 2 diabetes, is at high risk for serious complications from COVID-19. They’ve had groceries delivered and eaten at home.
To stay active, they’ve ridden their bikes in the campground, walked and read books. And, of course, they’ve video chatted with family and friends, and occasionally made short trips to sit outdoors to visit with their grandchildren while masked and socially distanced.
“We were here in a bubble,” Hildreth says. “We took care to limit our exposure.”
Road trips on the horizon
For the Hildreths, the vaccine offers hope and a chance to resume visits with family once again. They have three grandsons in Charleston and a granddaughter in Falls Church, Virginia.
Under recently released CDC guidance, fully vaccinated people can gather indoors without masks or social distancing with unvaccinated people from a single household if those people are at low risk for severe disease. For example, fully vaccinated grandparents can visit healthy children and grandchildren without wearing masks or social distancing.
“I was adamant about getting it,” Hildreth says about the COVID-19 vaccine. “The biggest driving factor was seeing my family. I just wanted to see the grandkids and not be as nervous. I knew my kids were concerned, and I didn’t want them to be worried any longer.”
Still staying safe
Even once they’re fully vaccinated, the couple say they plan to continue playing it safe by masking up, socially distancing in public and taking other preventive measures until public health experts deem them no longer necessary.
After cancelling three family trips to Disney World last year because of the pandemic, the Hildreths hope they’ll be able to return in late 2021.
Grateful for the vaccine
A big proponent of the flu and pneumonia vaccines, Hildreth says she’s grateful a vaccine was developed for COVID-19.
“It certainly gives you a sense of peace to know you’ve done all you can to avoid getting the disease and passing it on to someone,” she says. “With all that’s going on in the world, it’s something we can do to help ourselves and others. There’s nothing better than that.”