Austin retirement community among first to give seniors COVID-19 vaccine

Coronavirus

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Some of the first senior citizens in Austin got their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday. It’s part of a new statewide push to get the vaccine out of freezers and into arms. 

The Texas Department of State and Health Services commissioner is telling everyone with the vaccine to start administering it. The goal is to first give it to willing Phase 1A individuals, then those in Phase 1B.

The bottom line—time is of the essence, and there’s more vaccines on the way. 

Vaccinations underway at the Village at the Triangle Senior Living Community in Austin Dec. 23 (KXAN Photo/Jala Washington)

Residents at the Village at the Triangle waited in the hall before going into a sterilized room to get the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine Wednesday. The director of the facility said about 130 people would be vaccinated.

“Which arm would you like?” asked pharmacist Laura Kelly with Tarrytown Pharmacy, before administering a COVID-19 shot to a senior resident. 

It feels like a historic day for Kelly.

“It is so exciting,” she said. 

She talked residents through the process, as she administers the shot. 

“Your arm might be a little bit sore,” she said. “We don’t expect any other problems.”

Most are excited. 

COVID-19 vaccine (KXAN Photo/Jala Washington)

“I hardly felt that,” one resident said with a smile. 

But others like Hannah Rubin, who’s in remission for cancer, are nervous. 

“I’m very nervous,” Rubin said. “I’m just going to go with the flow, and see how everything goes. I’m still going to be careful.”

Locally-owned Tarrytown Pharmacy found out from the state Wednesday morning they were getting a shipment. 

“I scrambled, starting calling all my staff, activating all the plans we had in place,” said Rannon Ching, the pharmacist in charge at Tarrytown. “And so, yeah it’s been a whirlwind. But it’s been a really great day.”

Executive Director Joel Quade at the Village at the Triangle said he’s happy to partner with Tarrytown. 

“We thought we’d have to wait until a lot later in January,” Quade said. “But thanks to Rannon and the team, we’re ahead of the game.”

Though getting the COVID-19 vaccine seemed far fetched for some, the group of seniors vaccinated Wednesday know they have to trust the science. 

After residents were vaccinated, pharmacists asked them to wait in the lobby, just so they can be monitored for 15-20 minutes. 

Pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens are receiving vaccine supply through a federal program, which is why they won’t be able to administer shots until next week.

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