Residents of nursing homes in central Minnesota have begun receiving the first doses of COVID-19 vaccine, including a 106-year-old woman who has survived a bout of the devastating infection.
Health providers CentraCare and Carris Health began giving out Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine to residents of several long-term care facilities this week. At Carris Health Care Center and Therapy Suites in Willmar, 20 residents received initial doses on Tuesday.
The first to receive a vaccine was Harriet Lobbins. She recovered after having COVID-19 in mid-November. Lobbins is the oldest resident of the care center, said Amanda Thorson, director of nursing.
“We all went into Harriet's room, and a couple of us stood outside her room to witness this monumental moment,” Thorson said. “We gave her her vaccine and we all clapped and cheered, and she smiled at us. ‘Is that it?’ she said.”
Residents who have already had the coronavirus and meet the guidelines still will receive the vaccine, according to CentraCare.
Staff in the Willmar long-term care facility also were given the opportunity to receive the vaccine.
“It was a great day,” Thorson said. “There's been so many setbacks, and just when you think you have everything right, something changes.
“So you could just feel the difference in the air. You could just feel the difference in the energy of everybody around you as you were giving the vaccine from room to room. So it was definitely cool.”
Nearly two weeks into Minnesota's vaccine distribution program, about 38,000 people have received their first shots.
Vaccinations of health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities are expected to continue for the next few weeks.
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