PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — Nearly 100 residents and staff members at HarborChase of Palm Beach Gardens, a senior living community, started receiving the COVID-19 vaccine on Monday.
It's been weeks since residents and staff at HarborChase were told the COVID-19 vaccine was coming. After receiving the first dose, many of the residents said they are grateful knowing that there are so many other people waiting for their chance to get vaccinated.
The first round of vaccines at HarborChase lifted many spirits on Monday.
"I'm happy and very fortunate to have had it because there are thousands of people who are very dismayed that they are still waiting, and waiting for how long they don’t know," said resident Diana Antell.
Antell said she can’t wait to get back to doing normal things like grocery shopping or going to a mall. She said even with activities staff members plan for the residents, the isolation has been tough.
"They go home, we are home, so we stay put and after one year of seclusion if you tend to be sort of active and like to be out and about, it’s been a little stressful," Antell said.
But staff members like Bobbi Geraldine and Laura Dolan haven’t been immune to the stresses of the pandemic.
Last summer both were infected with the virus and spent weeks in the hospital.
"I thought it was something like the flu, it was nothing like the flu," said Waldinger, a life enrichment employee at HarborChase.
"I went to the hospital and two days later my husband came to the same hospital. It was not funny that point," said Dolan, another ife enrichment employee at HarborChase.
Both were part of the group of 100 residents and staff members who got the Pfizer vaccine distributed by Walgreens at the facility.
"Vaccine is so tiny, I asked the nurse, this is it?" Dolan said.
Antell wore her band-aid proudly, and Waldinger said she is relieved she can continue to do what she loves without fear.
"I'm very happy to get the vaccine, I can’t wait to get the second one," Waldinger said.
The ladies said for anyone who is doubtful about getting the vaccine…
"Of course it's worth it. You don’t want to go through what I went through. Seriously, it was like over two weeks," Dolan said.
Other HarborChase facilities in Wellington and Naples received their vaccines last week.
The second dose will be distributed on Feb. 8.