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Senior citizens in Naples getting COVID-19 booster shots

Reporter: Rachel Cox-Rosen Writer: Matthew Seaver
Published: Updated:

Joy was in the air Monday at the Naples Senior Center.

Stennett Johnson joined 99 other seniors on Monday getting their booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

For Johnson, it is a dose of freedom. “It’s life-changing for me now I’m going to be able to go into Publix or into Walmart without fear now that I have the third shot.”

President and CEO of the Naples Senior Center Dr. Jaclynn Faffer said seniors are cautiously optimistic that the pandemic is coming to an end and demand for the third dose is high.

“When the shots were approved, we began getting phone calls from the people we gave shots to in the past, and the calls increased by the day. And in one day alone, we got over 32 calls. So at that point, we reached out to the health department,” said Faffer.

A special clinic was set up and the senior center started calling the most at-risk seniors. Seniors like Charlene and John Wagner.

“We’re really thrilled to get this,” said Charlene Wagner.

John Wagner said, “I would like to say that I’m impressed. The nice people at the senior center.”

Stennett Johnson said he’d do it again. “If it’s a fourth shot I will be there to take it whatever it needs to get rid of this virus I will be there to get it done.”

A quick jab in the arm is nothing to a World War II veteran Joseph Innes. And neither, he says, was the pandemic.

At 102-years-old, he’s still going strong. Innes said, “the first 100 years was easy.”

After living through two of the most deadly periods in modern history, he wants to protect himself with the third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“Probably my best experience is it was painless and made me safe for anything that follows,” said Innes.

Joy and Gerald Spivak are two of the vulnerable seniors called by the senior center for a chance to get this extra layer of protection.

“We’re totally isolated because we have very little family. And so it hasn’t been easy,” said Joy Spivak. “This last year has been awful. Lots of people have died. And we’re hopeful that it will get better.”

The senior center is offering the Moderna vaccine by appointment only. They have another clinic Wednesday and hope to offer the booster three times a week.