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Residents, staff receive first dose of COVID-19 vaccine at Warm Hearth Village

Published: Jan. 19, 2021 at 10:39 PM EST
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BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - Celebrations could be heard Tuesday as residents at Warm Hearth Village in Blacksburg got their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“We’ve been counting down like four days, but it was a big deal,” said Michael Spears. “It is, it really is.”

For nearly 10 months Warm Hearth Village has had a no-visitor policy, which has taken a toll on the residents. But now, they’re one step closer to normalcy.

“It’s a great day at Warm Hearth Village; we have been planning for this and excited for a long time,” said President and CEO Brad Dalton. “The emotional toll has been really heavy and today to see them come through the line, to see their smiles, to see them pumping their fists to be excited, it really means a lot and we know that they know that the better days are coming.”

Michael Spears and his wife Barbara have been working hard to stay active and see some of their fellow neighbors socially-distanced style. They do this on long walks and playing tennis. They have not been able to see immediate family since the pandemic started.

“Until we get everyone vaccinated we really can’t move on and we’re ready to move on,” Michael said. “We’ve seen some of our neighbors here today and we haven’t seen them in 10 months.”

“What really makes me sad is the people that don’t believe this is a problem,” Barbara said. “They put their family at risk and it’s such a shame.”

Both are hopeful for a better future and soon. They said the vaccine does not hurt when you get it.

“This is really important, I had to do this,” Barbara said. “No matter whether I had a reaction or not I had to be here.”

The next dose of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines is expected to arrive in three weeks. All residents and staff had a chance to get vaccinated Friday and Tuesday.

“They are strong and while this has been a tough year we will see them bounce back, they will be stronger and close than ever,” Dalton said. “I really believe that and it’ll be a very special time.”

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