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Holland senior community residents receive second dose of COVID-19 vaccine

"We are doing a lot of celebrating."

Monday marked a day of celebration as nearly 70 residents at a senior living community in Holland received their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. 

"We've been doing a lot of celebrating," said Angela Keeven, chief wellness officer for Cedarhurst Living. "Because it's the light at the end of the tunnel, you know, the tunnel may be several months longer, but we can see it there."

Addington Place of LakeSide Vista, a Cedarhurst Living community, held it's first vaccine clinic on January 11. At that time, about 60% of residents and 40% of staff received the shot. Some had to hold off at the first clinic as they recovered from contracting the virus during a December outbreak. 

Following Monday's clinic, about 90% of residents had received at least the first dose, and a little over 44% of staff. 

CVS and Walgreens are administering vaccinations at most long term care facilities across the country through a federal partnership. In Michigan, all first dose clinics have been completed at skilled nursing facilities, which received vaccines first. 

Keeven, who is overseeing the rollout across all Cedarhurst communities in multiple states, said Michigan had been one of the earliest states to rollout the vaccine through the long term care partnership. 

State officials have set a goal of vaccinating at least 70% of the population (16 years and older) by the end of the year. While the timeline for the vaccine rollout has been pushed back by months, officials have said the arrival of additional COVID-19 vaccines could help pick up the pace in the future. 

Long term care facilities were prioritized by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention due to the large percentage of people within those facilities who have contracted the virus and the vulnerability of older adults, especially people with underlying medical conditions. 

The uptake across Cedarhurst's 45 communities in nine different states, Keeven says, has been great so far with residents. There's been some hesitancy with staff members, she said. 

"I would say over 90% of our residents are getting the vaccine, and were getting it the first time it was offered," Keeven said. 

Back in December, 25 residents and 20 staff members at Addington Place tested positive for the virus, about half of them were asymptomatic, Keeven said. But, one resident passed away from complications of the virus. 

Laura Miller, a resident who previously contracted the virus, received her vaccine on Monday. 

"I am excited about it, and I am grateful that they brought this vaccine to us," Miller said. 

Restrictions remain in place preventing visitors at most long term care facilities and the closure of common areas. But as the vaccine rollout continues, Keeven said she's seen already seen positivity rates and the number of exposures go down significantly in the last few weeks.  

"We're thrilled to see this and hoping that the worst is behind us," she said. 

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