LAKE ST LOUIS, Mo. — Some of the St. Louis area’s oldest and most vulnerable residents started getting protection against the coronavirus Monday.
The residents at the Cottages of Lake St. Louis Retirement Center were among the first in the state to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. And at the front of the line: a 100-year-old veteran.
Philip Moore was the first resident to get vaccinated.
He’s already battled the virus, but it took a toll on the centenarian’s health. This time last year, Moore could get around on his own and felt great, for a 100-year-old man. Now, after surviving COVID-19 he's in a wheelchair, and getting around isn't as easy as it used to be.
"I could get around. I could talk better, take care of myself," Moore said Monday. "All of that was taken from me."
Moore was among several residents and employees who got the first of two shots Monday. The next round will come Jan. 25.
"I hope it's helpful and everyone gets it," he said.
It’s a huge sign of hope for employees like Brandi Smith who’ve sacrificed time with their own loved ones to keep those in the retirement home safe.
Smith said she has seen the worst of the virus.
During the first couple of months of the pandemic, she lived in the retirement community, leaving her husband and kids at home. Just recently, her father passed away. And now, her grandfather is fighting against the virus.
Employees said the vaccine is a beacon of hope, offering a sign of relief that people are getting the protection they’ve spent months longing for.
But it also means families are a shot closer to being reunited with their loved ones.
"It's hopefully a step in the right direction for us to be reunited," Smith said.
READ MORE: Vaccine closes gap for long-term care patients and loved ones who haven’t been able to visit
Nearly 600 Missouri skilled nursing and assisted living facilities partnered with CVS Health to receive the vaccines starting Dec. 28, according to a news release. The U.S. Department of Health and Senior Services previously announced it had selected CVS Health and Walgreens to administer the vaccinations with no out-of-pocket costs.