Albert Lea senior living facility begins vaccinations

Borkowski has been living at St. John’s for about eight months. He said getting the vaccine to him means reuniting with his wife.

“I was over in Oak Park and I had to come over here and my wife didn’t get here until November. So we were apart all summer,” he said.

Allen and his wife have been married for 60 years. Although he is able to visit her a few times a week he said reading and bingo have mainly helped keep him occupied during the pandemic. However, talking to his wife on the phone and video chats have lightened the stress of being apart.

Allen told me he was thrilled to hear about a vaccine, and fear never crossed his mind.

“It’s nice to see so many people have it and take it, and I sure hope it helps,” said Borkowski.

Linda Miller, another St. John’s resident said she’s also hoping the vaccine will allow her to reunite with her family.

“We video chat and we would talk on the phone,” she said, but her inspiration is her four children.

“I have three sons and a daughter,” said Miller.

Linda moved to the senior living facility back in January. She said she didn’t have much time to adjust to the facility and all the activities before everything shut down. Since the pandemic, Miller said loneliness has taken its toll.

“It’s been a big adjustment. Missing family is number one,” she said.

Some of the staff members that received the vaccine said they were a little concerned about getting it. Shannon Herman shared that after a conversation with her colleague and a little research she changed her mind about not getting the vaccine and decided to volunteer to be vaccinated.

“Very excited over here. Beyond excited. It’s the beginning of the end of COVID,” said Herman.

90 residents were vaccinated between the two St. John’s campuses. 50 staff members were vaccinated. St. John’s CEO and Administrator Scot Spates said the second round of vaccinations will take place on January 28. The recipients from the first group on New Year’s Eve will receive their second shot, and the remainder of staff that were not able to get vaccinated will receive their first dose.

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