After getting their first round of COVID-19 vaccinations Friday morning, Heaton Place residents were in the mood to celebrate.
The Armstrong retirement community had balloons, music and signage ready for the big day, March 12. A team of nine Interior Health staff and nurses arrived with a refrigerated batch of Pfizer shots to be administered.
Carrie O’Neill, resident relations coordinator, said the long awaited day went off without a hitch.
“We spaced them out and the nurses went and gave them their shots; it went so smoothly, it was such a beautiful thing,” she said.
It’s the first of two doses that are required for full vaccine efficacy, hence the sign that reads “Almost free at last!”
The next round of shots won’t be for another four weeks; the residents will be staying put until April 15 with COVID protocols still in place.
As for the shot itself, the residents assured it’s nothing to fear.
“I didn’t feel a thing,” said one resident from the many that stood in the entrance to have a bit of fun with their first big step towards COVID-19 inoculation.
“Didn’t even hurt!” said another.
Asked if they’re looking forward to a return to freedom come April, most replied with a definite, if somewhat tepid “yes” — and tepid only because most seem content with the care provided staff indoors at Heaton Place.
“This is a great place to be and we’re not a bit sorry we moved in here,” said one resident in his early 90s. “They take good care of us.”
Standing outside, the residents slipped off their masks for a photo, creating for a moment a sense of normalcy they’ve long been deprived of in their closed-off community.
“It’d be nice if everything would come back to normal,” the resident said between breaths of fresh air.