County officials praised the Douglasville Nursing and Rehabilitation Center for the high vaccination rate among its patients and staff during Vaccine Awareness Day.

According to the nursing home’s executive director Victor Paez, the facility has 73% of its residents vaccinated and 67% of the staff has received the shot.

“One of the biggest things we try to do is get out as much information about the vaccine,” Paez said. “The rates are high, but they are far from our goal.”

In a making a big push for its goal of 100% of the staff to get vaccinated the facility is offering big incentives. On Tuesday, one of the staff members received a $1,500 bonus in a drawing.

On Nov. 30, Paez said the nursing home will have a $20,000 drawing for a staff member that has gotten vaccinated before Nov. 15.

He said the facility currently has no COVID-19 cases.

“We are trying to get as many people vaccinated as possible,” he said.

Tuesday’s event was open to the public. The facility will hold an event each month through the end of the year for residents, staff and the public to get vaccinated.

On Tuesday, 11 staff members received a shot and 24 residents got a booster.

“I wanted to keep myself safe,” said Michelle Townsend, who works in the central supply transportation department at the nursing home. She received her booster shot during the event.

“I did it for myself and the for the residents,” Townsend. “I want to help keep the people I work around safe.”

Douglas County Commission Chairman Romona Jackson Jones spoke at the event and shared her experience in the Army working in infection control.

“I know what this virus can do,” she said. “If we take this lightly, it will take over on us. I made the leap of faith and got vaccinated. You protect me, and I will protect you. This is huge in regards to herd immunity in getting this many staff and residents vaccinated.”

Fire Chief Roderick Jolivette encouraged the staff and residents to get vaccinated.

“Please consider taking the vaccine,” Jolivette said. “You have 73% vaccinated. You all are leading by example for Douglas County, the state and the nation.”

Jones said she will continue to push for residents to wear their masks, wash their hands and watch their social distance as “we continue our fight” against the virus.

“This vaccine has shown to be safe and effective from getting COVID-19,” Jones said. “We are trying to protect everybody. We prayed for a vaccine, and He delivered. If God has put his hands on it, it is safe.”