BOSTON (AP) - The plan to give the coronavirus vaccine to all residents and workers in long-term care facilities in Massachusetts began on Monday.
Nancy Vecchione Colonero, 103, a resident of the Beaumont Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Center in Westborough, was one of the first people get the first dose of the inoculation.
“I’m not excited, at my age, by anything,” she said, according to The Boston Globe. “I feel privileged. … I’ve looked forward to this.”
Certified nursing assistant Julio Bercian was one of the first staffers to get the vaccine. The 61-year-old Westborough resident has worked at the nursing home for 34 years.
“Now I’m so happy because I got the vaccine,” he said. “I hope we can end this pandemic very soon.”
Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders has said about 115,000 long-term care residents and staff statewide need to be vaccinated.
Shirley Nolan, a retired teacher who lives at the Benjamin Healthcare Center in Boston’s Mission Hill neighborhood, was also one of the first people to get the vaccine.
“Hallelujah!” she said.
“I’m glad that I got the start of something that can help this virus that’s going around,” she said.
Pharmacy chain CVS is administering the shots under a federal program.
Older residents of long-term care facilities are at higher risk from the coronavirus. More than 60% of coronavirus deaths in Massachusetts have been in residents of such facilities, according to state health officials.
Vaccinations are set to begin on Tuesday at the hard-hit Holyoke Soldiers Home, where nearly 80 veterans died of COVID-19 earlier this year. Investigators said “utterly baffling” decisions allowed the virus to spread unchecked at the home.
The spiritual leader of nearly 2 million Boston-area Catholics has received his first dose of a coronavirus vaccine.
Archdiocese of Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley received the vaccine on Thursday at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center in the city’s Brighton neighborhood, the archdiocese said in a statement Monday. O’Malley, 76, is scheduled to get the second dose in late January.
O’Malley hopes to demonstrate that the vaccine is safe and wants to encourage people to be vaccinated.
“I am grateful to have been in line for the vaccine and encourage all people to be vaccinated as the opportunity is presented, as an important action of care and concern for our loved ones, our communities and our nation,” he said in a statement.
State public health officials on Monday reported more than 4,000 new confirmed cases and 48 additional confirmed deaths.
The figures push the overall number of cases since the pandemic began to over 340,000 in Massachusetts and the confirmed death toll to 11,900.
More than 2,200 people were hospitalized, 430 of them in intensive care units.
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