Heartland assisted living facility receives COVID-19 vaccine.

Updated: Jan. 30, 2021 at 8:22 PM CST
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HERRIN, Ill. (KFVS) - A Heartland assisted living facility is partnering with Walgreens to make sure their residents and staff no longer have to worry about the virus and can finally see their loved ones again.

Emalene Wilcox is one of many residents who received a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at the Villas of Holly Brook in Herrin.

“I’ve been waiting for it” said Wilcox.

Wilcox said she’s been lonely during the pandemic, because she has not seen family or friends.

“My daughter hasn’t been in my presence for a long time, because she very susceptible with diabetes,” said Wilcox.

This is not the first time she has experienced something similar to COVID-19.

“My husband and I had the swine flu back in 2009, he almost died with it,” said Wilcox.

Wilcox said she believes once everyone receives a vaccine, we will soon be back to normal.

Executive Director Howard Saver stated that the vaccinations will bring better days for the facility.

“This will be the first big step perhaps toward getting back to everything that’s really normal,” said Saver.

He said families always ask when their loved ones would get the vaccine, in hopes of seeing them soon.

“I don’t know if we’ll have extensive visitation in the building but some. So, I think little by little we’ll be taking those steps,” said Saver.

Marlys Venegoni is also a resident at the facility. She said it’s a big adjustment to be being excluded from loved ones.

“It’s difficult of course if you can’t be around family and friends,” said Venegoni.

She said she tries her best to keep a positive attitude. “You’re not only just helping yourself but you’re helping your neighbors and you’re helping your family by doing it.”

Saver said Walgreens will return in three weeks to distribute the second shot of the Pfizer vaccine to all residents and staff who received a shot.

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