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Senior citizens receive first COVID-19 vaccinations at Westgate Gardens Care Center

ABC 30 Fresno logo ABC 30 Fresno 1/6/2021 KFSN

Hugging her loved ones is something Lillian Flores misses, but she's hoping that Tuesday brought her a step closer to doing it again.

Flores was one of about 130 people at Westgate Gardens Care Center who received the Pfizer COVID-19. She's been a resident at the senior care facility for about two years.

"And I signed up right away, there was no doubt about it at all, where do I sign, where do I sign?" she said. Lillian may look familiar to viewers: she was featured on Action News on Christmas Eve when her favorite local radio DJ and his family sang Christmas carols outside her window while she battled COVID-19.

RELATED: Visalia radio host sings Christmas carols for loyal listener who tested COVID-positive

Her family has had to speak to her through her window, too.

"I think that's the thing that residents miss more than anything else, is contact with their loved ones," said Benjamin Carter, an administrator at Westgate Gardens. "We do our best to facilitate window visits and virtual visits, but it's just not the same as getting a hug from your loved one and they want that back."

The team hopes that Tuesday's dose of the vaccine is the first step towards getting that back. It was the first of three opportunities provided by the facility; you only need two doses of the vaccine, but the facility wanted to give anyone who decided not to get the vaccine on Tuesday the chance to get the two doses at later dates.

"I want to be a part of what gives our residents, myself, my family, my community the best shot of getting through this thing," said Cathy Meis, a staff member who got vaccinated on Tuesday.

"Hopefully somebody who has been hesitant will be inspired to do this, I hope it makes a difference for one person, that would really make my day," Meis said.

Flores didn't hesitate - the 72-year-old says she remembers lining up for polio vaccines and believes this is no different. She hopes Tuesday brought her a step closer to what she misses most.

"Once I'm vaccinated, I want a hug from my daughter, and my grandkids," she said.


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