North Naples senior community finally gets their COVID-19 vaccines

Reporter: Zach Oliveri Writer: Jackie Winchester

After weeks of uncertainty and concerns over COVID-19, those living in one Southwest Florida senior community are getting the shot they’ve been waiting on.

Vi at Bentley Village in North Naples had 98% of its skilled nursing facility vaccinated in December and then began pushing for the residents of its independent and assisted living to receive their doses.

Those 800 people started getting their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine on Tuesday.

When Herb Koelling heard he could finally get the vaccine, he said he almost didn’t believe it. “You’re not sure it’s going to happen until it happens.”

Most of his fellow residents say they tried to be patient, but with each day, they grew anxious about when they might get the vaccine. Then, Monday night, the rumors started.

“We’ve had calls and alerts and we’ve been, you know, everyone is getting edgy, but it was very exciting to get that call that it might happen today,” Koelling said.

The rumors proved to be true. The vaccine team went building by building, asking people to come to the East Clubhouse to get their shot.

Ron and Priscilla Touga didn’t waste any time.

“She was near the phone. I was out golfing and my phone rang and she said come home right away,” Ron said.

Penny Smith, executive director of the Vi at Bentley Village, felt the residents’ stress.

“I am overwhelmed with excitement because the shot is a lifesaver and a life-changer for what has been happening the last 11 months with the pandemic,” she said.

Vi at Bentley Village tried multiple vendors – and then CDR Maguire came through.

“They have been the knight on the white horse and really provided us with great comfort,” Smith said.

Now the wait begins for the second shot.

RESOURCE: WINK News is working by the minute on a daily basis to bring our coverage areas in Southwest Florida the latest COVID-19 vaccine information from the counties you live in.

Visit our COVID-19 vaccine schedules and information for SWFL story for rolling vaccine updates.

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