‘A time of hope’: COVID-19 vaccines roll out at assisted living communities across Florida

VIDEO: ‘A time of hope’: COVID-19 vaccines roll out at assisted living communities across Florida

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. — On Monday, 132 seniors received their first dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 shot at Grand Villa, an assisted living community in Melbourne.

“It’s just turning a year-long, potentially discouraging time into … a time of hope,” said Rocco Giuliano, executive director.

Monday marked the first time CVS went into long-term facilities across Florida to give the first dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine.

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Officials gave out 296 vaccines at 12 facilities across the state, including Central Florida.

For the residents, the past year has been tough. Family can’t visit as often and they can’t get out either.

“It’s been depressing, like your captive.” said resident Bebe Burkhardt. “I’m so old now. I just want to enjoy things and feel happy and it’s been kind of hard to do.”

Before the big day, 91-year-old Marian Bassler has dwelled on the dose of reality she’s been dealt for the past 11 months.

“I’m happy, and can wait until I get the next one,” Bassler said. “I want to get out of here to go visit my family.”

The rollout at long-term care facilities is part of a national effort designed to reach the most at-risk people across the nation.

About 99% of the residents received the vaccine, as did 50 staff members.

“Lots of smiles, lots of excitement,” said Giuliano.

All of them have their second doses scheduled for Feb. 1.