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Staff and residents at assisted living facility get second round of COVID-19 vaccines

Officials said that staff and residents are excited for the chance to go back out and see the world all over again.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Residents at a West Knoxville assisted living facility will soon be able to go outside and see the world again, after around a year of isolation.

Staff and residents at the Raintree Terrace Assisted Living facility got their second Moderna COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday. Many received their first round of shots in late January, including Millie McMillan, who is 102 years old. She is a former nurse and was born during the 1918 flu pandemic.

"I think everyone should get the shots as they become available," McMillan said in January. She was the first in line for the shot.

Around 100 people received shots on Tuesday, given out by CVS. Luis Ortiz, director at the facility, said that the isolation as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic has been hard on residents and said that social contact with friends and family is vital for people's mental health.

"You know, we are going to be able to start going out again and start seeing the world all over again," said Ortiz. "Some of them don't know what the outside world looks like anymore, so that's going to be super exciting."

State and local health leaders recently expanded eligibility to receive the COVID-19 vaccine to people in Phase 1b, as well as everyone 65 years and older. That includes teachers, administrators and other staff members of kindergarten through 12th grade.

Operations personnel of first responder agencies are also eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. People who were eligible in earlier phases are also still able to get the vaccine.