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As the rest of the world has been somberly watching a slow rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine, life inside of Still Hopes Senior Livng Community West Columbia, SC is bustling with excitement. 

On January 5 and 8, Still Hopes hosted three COVID-19 vaccination “clinics” for staff, licensed area residents in our Greenway Supportive Living neighborhoods, Independent Living residents, Solutions for Living at Home care receivers, and even incoming residents moving into our HopeWell independent living apartment building. This was unprecedented for retirement communities in the Columbia area, and even throughout South Carolina, something for which Hilary Bassett says the community should be very proud. 

“We are just over the moon excited,” said Bassett, Assistant Administrator and Head Compliance Officer at Still Hopes. “Our residents just couldn’t believe it, because the vaccine hasn’t been consistently offered to independent living residents in other communities, much less home care residents or incoming residents. So it was just really special for us to be able to offer it to everyone who wanted one.”

Still Hopes, with the help of CVS, was able to vaccinate approximately 550 members of the Still Hopes community of staff and residents with the Moderna vaccine. Recipients will come back for a second and final dose on Feb. 2 and 5. At that time, a first dose of the vaccine will also be offered to people who were not able to receive it in the first round due to health restrictions.

The most common side effect was the occasional soreness in the arm at the site of injection. Residents and staff were monitored for at least 15 minutes after their vaccine. The vaccine was optional, and Bassett was thrilled to learn so many residents took advantage of this opportunity.

“Our older adult population really has been the most vulnerable during this time, even though we have done so well at Still Hopes by keeping COVID out. So it was really important for us to be able to offer the vaccine free of charge and to everyone right here in their own community.”

“We were able to help them with the paperwork, and they were greeted by the same people they know and love already who helped walk them through the process, and literally held their hand in some instances,” continued Bassett.

Bassett said that Still Hopes received a lot of compliments from the CVS organizers, and was even told they were the most organized vaccination clinic so far - exciting news for the staff who worked so diligently to make it happen.

“What an amazing day at Still Hopes. The organization, efficiency and involvement of staff from all areas was over the top,” said Nela Edgar, an Independent Living resident. “I wish I could thank each one personally. There are no words to express our appreciation. We are so happy and grateful to be a part of this loving community - a neighborhood of friends.”