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'It’s lonely sometimes': Utah seniors eager for return to normal life with COVID-19 vaccine

Posted at 9:22 PM, Jan 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-20 00:30:19-05

SANDY, Utah — Roughly 300 residents and staff at Cedarwood, a senior living community, received their first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine Tuesday.

Senior citizens have suffered the most during the pandemic, enduring strict safety precautions to avoid contracting the virus that has been most dangerous for people older than 65.

READ: U of U conducts experimental COVID-19 antibody treatment

Many haven't been unable to hug family members for months.

“If you didn’t count your blessings, you could get pretty depressed with not being able to see anybody or visit with anybody,” said resident Yvonne Bolingbroke. “You can have a pity party for one if you want. It’s lonely sometimes.”

The vaccine distribution represents a moment of hope and getting back something the pandemic took away.

“Freedom,” Bolingbroke said. “I’m hoping when the second shot comes, we are safer and we can get out more and visit our families more.”

READ: Utahns age 70+ begin receiving COVID-19 vaccine

While the vaccine represents what could be the beginning of the end, residents know it will not allow them to let down their guard.

“I still plan to be safe and wear a mask at all times and keep social distancing,” said Patricia Burton. “I also don’t want to take any chances.”

During the pandemic, many seniors in communities like this have relied on their neighbors and caretakers.

“There is someone that cares, even though we can’t get out,” Bolingbroke said.

While that has helped her get through the pandemic, Bolingbroke is ready to experience life’s irreplaceable, priceless moments once again.

“Hugs,” she said. “We haven’t been able to hug for a long time.”

As of Tuesday, more than 170,000 vaccines have been distributed in Utah.

Those who received the shot on Tuesday will get their second dose in three weeks.