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Cherry Laurel residents receive Moderna COVID-19 vaccine

Published: Dec. 29, 2020 at 9:23 PM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - As vaccines continue to roll out, those 65 and older are now being given their own dose. The Cherry Laurel Retirement Community is among them.

Tuesday, 79 of their residents were able to get the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

After a year of restrictions and minimal socialization, the vial means so much to not only caretakers, but the entire community of the nursing home.

Tuesday, the 79 residents who chose to take part were bussed to the Department of Health where they got their vaccine.

“All of us have met the virus as best as we can,” shared 88-year-old resident Lee Miller. “And we have to keep up our spirits.”

Miller is the poster of positivity.

Ahead of her vaccination, she was asked if she was scared or excited. With a laugh, she said she was a little bit of both.

“But I am hoping that it will be really helpful,” Miller says.

Miller is not the only one.

“I feel like we are privileged to have the opportunity to receive it,” Rosemary Stenmark says.

Besides good health, the 77-year-old just wants to be reunited with those she loves.

“I think we are all hoping that we can get back to where we were,” says Stenmark.

Each of these women was given their “special” moment on Tuesday.

For Cherry Laurel General Manager Vicki Burke, it was a dream come true.

“Oh my gosh, we are so so so excited, it’s been a long long road and this is some light at the end of the tunnel and we are just over the moon,” Burke says.

The first thing that residents hope comes to life, as a result of them getting the vaccine, is the empty dining hall.

Months ago, it was filled with residents playing games, eating food hanging out at ‘the’ spot.

Now, untouched for most of the year, Miller says it’s missed dearly by her and others.

“There’s so much fellowship in the dining room, and that’s good and that’s healthy,” she says.

“I think we all look forward to that so we can see each other and speak to each other,” Steinmark says.

The residents hope the shot will bring back the community atmosphere that is Cherry Laurel’s specialty, as well as liven spirits and keep others safe and reassured.

Burke shared her hope for the nursing home: “Just being happy and living their best lives again.”

“We just want to get back to where we were,” says Stenmark. “Probably everyone does.”

Tuesday, only the select residents who wanted to get the vaccine did so. Staff did not get the vaccine, but are expecting to receive it in the coming weeks.

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