It has been four days since continuing care residents at Bethany Cochrane received their first dose of the Moderna vaccine against COVID-19.

Monica Johnson is the Interm Administrator for Bethany Cochrane and she says that as of Friday, January 8 all residents in the facility's Supportive Living and Long Term Care who wanted to receive the vaccination participated in the first clinic. Johnson says that the process has gone smoothly.

"Everything has gone off really without a hitch," says Johnson. "It's been really quite comparable to our influenza clinics in terms of process and days after has been similar to that, so it's gone off really smoothly."

Johnson says that there has been a noticeable shift in the residents' spirits, and the overall tone throughout the facility is one of optimism.

"The response has been fantastic," says Johnson. "Residents are really thrilled to be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and feeling like this might be the next step towards maybe seeing some of the restrictions change. The mood has definitely been lifted here and it was a really exciting day for us to start that first clinic."

Johnson says that the continuing care facility is currently working with the public health team here in Cochrane to schedule the second clinic and have the residents fully immunized.

For now, heightened health and safety measures continue to be in place at Bethany.

Johnson says that the overall vaccination process has been positive. She says that she fees both  excited and hopeful to see widespread progress and even an end in sight to the global health crisis. 

"Overall it's been just a really positive experience for both residents and staff," says Johnson.  "I hope that everybody does their reading on the vaccine and looks at that for their own practice as well in the community so we can really start talking about the end of the pandemic."

While the priority is for continuing care residents to receive vaccinations first, Alberta’s vaccination program is expanding to include more health-care workers.

Johnson says that the staff at Bethany Cochrane will be rolling up their sleeve at a later date.