MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Soon, the COVID-19 vaccine will also be available at long-term care facilities where residents are most at risk. Long-term care workers and residents in Minnesota could start getting the vaccine as soon as Monday.

It was Christmas party day at EagleCrest in Roseville, a socially distanced affair; distance is unfortunately what residents like Bill Gamble are used to.

“I guess it just sort of makes you feel like you are left behind,” he said.

That’s a first for the life-embracing 100-year-old. The doctor of agriculture and his beloved wife started a loving and social family, a family he’d like to see again soon. He has a plan.

“I definitely want the vaccine. I’ve already put in my order,” he said.

EagleCrest is part of Presbyterian Homes — 40 sites and 8,000 Minnesota residents. They are preparing to get the vaccine as soon as next week.

“People are excited. There’s some apprehension too just because it’s so new but I think overall it’s an air of excitement,” campus administrator Danielle Salisbury said.

“It’s just one of those protections that science has been able to produce in a reasonably short time and I think it would be foolish not to take advantage of it,” Gamble said.

To serve Gamble and the other eager recipients, administrators will turn their COVID-testing system into a vaccination system, carting doses from room to room. CVS will help give doses to all workers and residents within one day, and follow-up with a second dose three weeks later.

“My hope is just to get the families back into the building. They are just such a critical piece to the overall well-being of the residents,” Salisbury said.

Presbyterian Homes is waiting on an exact date for vaccination, but they are hopeful they can start sometime in the next two weeks.

Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield