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SC retirement community hopeful as it nears full vaccination among residents, staff

A Sumter retirement community is nearing complete vaccination. Meanwhile, CVS Pharmacy is working to make sure others in the state reach the same goal.

SUMTER, S.C. — There was a feeling of excitement at Covenant Place of Sumter Tuesday as residents and staff took their first and, for some, second doses of the Moderna vaccine for COVID-19.

This was the retirement community's second of three vaccination clinics held to protect the community at high risk of the viral disease.

“I was just a little nervous, I guess, but other than that, I’m okay,” Dorothy Graham said.

RELATED: Sumter retirement home to be one of the first to receive COVID-19 vaccine

She was among the roughly 210 people getting the shot at Tuesday’s clinic.

“Maybe it’ll put a stop to (COVID-19),” Graham said. “Best hope so anyway.”

Her hope was shared by the facility’s Executive Director Rip Linder. With just one vaccine clinic left to go, he says he’s optimistic they will near their ultimate goal of being fully vaccinated, despite the shots being voluntary and some still hesitant to take them.

By the final clinic, “I would roughly guess we’ll be about 80 percent between staff,” Linder said. “Residents are probably 95 percent. Most of the residents, it tends to be the older you are the more likely you are to take that vaccination, and we’re just ecstatic that it started slow, but It’s ending fast.”

Covenant Place joins hundreds of other facilities in the state to receive the shot from CVS Pharmacy.

RELATED: Pharmacies working to vaccinate long-term care facility residents and staff

“To date, we’ve completed all first doses in the 113 skilled nursing facilities who are partnering with us and we’re 49% complete with providing the second dose of the vaccine,” Tara Burke, a spokesperson for the pharmacy, said in a statement. “This is a total, so far, of 13K vaccines that includes first and second dose. For assisted-living facilities, we will be complete this week with all first doses in the 569 facilities who have partnered with us, this totals over 16K vaccines.”

For Linder, it means a chance at a sense of normalcy.

“I think it’s wonderful…. we’re already getting benefits from that first vaccination and now the second one will be 95% (effective) – you can’t beat that,” Linder said.