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Touchmark retirement community vaccinates all staff, residents

Published: Feb. 3, 2021 at 5:51 PM CST
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APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) - A retirement community in the Fox Valley vaccinated its staff and residents Wednesday. Touchmark on West Prospect, located in the Appleton-area, began administering staff and residents with the COVID-19 vaccine.

“Wonderful, very great relief, I’m happy to have it.,” said Susan Kampine after getting the vaccine.

“I’m really, really glad. It’s just - it’s great,” said Carol Rowlands, another resident who got the vaccine.

Executive Director Stephanie Buchanan sees it as a significant step forward.

“It’s bringing back life to our community. Letting people be able to come and go and visit with their families and just have all of the things they haven’t been able to have for the last year,” said Buchanan. “We’re excited to be able to get back to that and this vaccine is the first step.”

They almost weren’t able to vaccinate everyone because originally they were going to be allocated 100 doses instead of the 350 they needed.

“So to hear only 100 I know was a huge blow to everybody in the community,” said Buchanan. “Residents, team members, families, team member families it was just - it was devastating.”

But after speaking with the DHS and CVS Touchmark was able to receive the amount needed for everyone.

“It’s just, it’s so emotional. I can’t talk too much or I might get teary eyed so, we’re really excited to be here today,” said Buchanan.

Some, like Carol and John Rowlands, can remember going through a similar situation with the polio epidemic.

“It was a time of simply staying in your house or in your yard - period,” said Carol.

“People didn’t really know what was causing it, what was transmitting it, and when those vaccines came in - oh my, what a wonderful time that was,” said John.

Now, this too, marks a time of wonder after what seemed like a very long year.

“They took marvelously good care of all of us, but you do miss your family. There’s just no getting around that,” said Carol.

They’re excited for themselves and others in the community.

“It seemed like the right thing to do,” said Carol. “Not just for us but for anybody we might come in contact with. I hope people of great numbers make the same decision.”

She believes some may be hesitant about the vaccine because this is their first time living through something like this, and she knows there’s misinformation out there as well.

“I could urge people to read a little more, to not be immediately accepting news that is shouted about. We need to ask people like doctors that know what they’re talking about,” said Carol. “Sometimes you have to take a step forward in faith and rely on the expertise of the people who have been working, especially in a situation like this, to find something to help us. They’ve done a lot of testing. I just pray they’ll get brave and get the vaccine.”

Touchmark is planning to get the second round of vaccines in March.

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