Bethany Retirement Living residents receive COVID-19 vaccinations

Hundreds of seniors living in North Dakota nursing homes are sleeping easier after getting vaccinated Monday, Dec. 29 on this first day of mass immunizations of nursing home residents across the state.

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FARGO — As they get close to bidding 2020 farewell, hundreds of nurses and Bethany Retirement Living staff lined up for the first vaccines in nursing homes in Fargo.

"It feels good (to get the vaccine), my family has been acting like I was the plague since it hit in February," said St. Louis travel nurse Meghan O'Reilly, who has been working in Fargo.

She documented the historic day Monday, Dec. 29, with a photo.

"We need to get this under control," O'Reilly said. "I have seen too many people die from it. Young people. I had a good friend die. She was 35 years old."


Glenward Jones, 69, got his vaccination today. He has been battling cancer and arrived at Bethany as the pandemic caught fire last March. Months later, he is receiving a vaccine.

"It is an exhilarating feeling and emotional," Jones said. "This is a grand Christmas present for the world."

Bethany Retirement Living is one of the first long term care facilities in town to get the widespread vaccinations underway, and by the end of the week 800 workers and nearly 300 residents in skilled nursing will have received the shots.

The goal is to get residents in these nursing homes and assisted living facilities vaccinated so families can be reunited with hugs everywhere.

"We have seen family members lose loved ones. We have watched people struggle with this, and the loss of residents has been so difficult, so we feel blessed to have these vaccinations today, just so thankful," said Tiffeny Hestdalen, director of nursing at Bethany Retirement Living.

Kevin Wallevand has been a Reporter at WDAY-TV since 1983. He is a native of Vining, Minnesota in Otter Tail County. His series and documentary work have brought him to Africa, Vietnam, Haiti, Kosovo, South America, Mongolia, Juarez,Mexico and the Middle East. He is an multiple Emmy and national Edward R. Murrow award recipient.

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