Residents of Chartwell's Whispering Pines Retirement Residence in Barrie are breathing a sigh of relief after being given their second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine Saturday.
"It's taken a hundred-pound weight off the shoulders," remarked resident Kenneth Culver.
Residents received their first doses on Jan. 29, as the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit aimed to get shots in the arms of all residents at retirement homes by the end of January.
"I am totally relieved," said Judy Potter, hours after receiving her second dose. "I can tell you; my family is totally relieved."
Families celebrated just as much as the residents.
Amanda Stewart was there when her 89-year-old father, who has dementia, received his vaccine.
"Today's a good day!" she said with a smile.
Stewart has watched with devastation over the last year as COVID-19 made its way through retirement and long-term care homes across Canada.
"It's been terrible. It's hard on all of us, and it's been terrible for the elderly," Stewart said.
Whispering Pines staff members were overjoyed once the final doses were given out.
"I am elated," said Health and Wellness Manager Susanne Wade.
"I can't express how excited I am. It's been a lot of work, hard work to maintain and keep the virus out."
Wade is particularly thankful for the work of staff members with public health and the retirement home.
"They're really dedicated and really take seriously the job that's been given to them."
Culver is looking forward to the bit of normalcy the protection vaccines provide.
"We'll start to play bingo in a group. We can get into the movie theatre. We can start to play bridge. We can start to play cards."
Whispering Pines plans to add more activities to its schedule and allow more visitors into the home in the coming weeks.
Potter is most looking forward to a meal out.
"Eating something that's not that healthy!" she added with a laugh.