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‘The vaccine, especially for our residents, is a game changer’

First COVID-19 vaccinations begin at St. John’s

St. John’s Lutheran Community resident Linda Miller couldn’t sleep Wednesday night.

“I was so excited about getting this today,” she said Thursday morning after receiving her first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. “I’m hoping it protects us all.”

Miller was one of several residents to receive the vaccination Thursday at the organization’s Fountain Lake campus. St. John’s and Good Samaritan Society were Albert Lea’s first two long-term care facilities to receive vaccinations this week.

After a long year of changes because of COVID-19, Miller and others in St. John’s chapel that day said they were excited for the day to finally arrive.

“I’m hoping the more they vaccinate, the more we can get back to the way things were,” she said.

Scot Spates, St. John’s CEO and administrator at the Fountain Lake campus, estimated 140 residents and staff between the organization’s Fountain Lake and Luther Place campuses were expected to receive their vaccinations Thursday. 

“It’s very exciting,” Spates said. “The vaccine, especially for our residents, is a gamechanger.”

He said the vaccine is critical in protecting residents in case they do get exposed. 

“It’s a huge blessing,” he said.

Pam Kramer, registered nurse at St. John’s, said she has been excited ever since she heard they were going to be able to get the vaccine.

“It feels like there’s a new hope — bringing in a new year in the right direction,” Kramer said.

St. John’s certified nursing assistant Siblu Soe said though she was worried ahead of getting her vaccination, she ultimately decided to take it for the good of everyone she works with, both residents and staff.

St. John’s partnered with Walgreens for the vaccine. A second clinic is slated for Jan. 28.