The Waters on Mayowood retirement community in Rochester received its first shipment of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, and began administering it to staff and residents on Tuesday.

Residents were “smiling ear to ear” upon the vaccine’s arrival, as they believe it brings them one step closer to reuniting with their loved ones.

“In our residents’ eyes, it was the world,” said Executive Director Autumn Ostergaard. “They were so excited to finally have this happen in hopes of being able to see their family again and getting to have some normalcy.

“To actually see the residents have a smile on their face and stand up and walk proud … It was a different group of people today.”

RELATED: Photos: The Waters on Mayowood residents and staff receive first does of COVID-19 vaccine

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Resident Assistant Mason Siefken receives the first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday, January 12, 2021, at The Waters on Mayowood in Rochester.  (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)
Resident Assistant Mason Siefken receives the first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday, January 12, 2021, at The Waters on Mayowood in Rochester. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)

The facility administered about 300 vaccines, Ostergaard said, and will receive its next shipment on Feb. 9. Most residents elected to receive the vaccine, with only a few declining.

However, Ostergaard said nearly 40% of the approximately 117 staff members declined the vaccine.

“They have the same fears that you see: ‘It’s a new vaccine, people are having side effects,’ ” she said. “I think as we see this process continue, we’re going to have more staff seeing that everything is going OK and that they would be interested in receiving it. But right now, it was just because the vaccine was new.”

The vaccinations mean going forward, The Waters on Mayowood will be “opening up more.”

Ken Babcock and his wife Mary receive the first does of their Moderna COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday, January 12, 2021, at their residence in the Waters on Mayowood in Rochester. “We have been waiting for this day,” Ken said.  (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)
Ken Babcock and his wife Mary receive the first does of their Moderna COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday, January 12, 2021, at their residence in the Waters on Mayowood in Rochester. “We have been waiting for this day,” Ken said. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)

“We’re going to start doing more activities, more engagements,” Ostergaard said. “We’re still going to follow social distancing. We’re still going to wear masks, but we’re going to hold more opportunities for people to do things and go out and about.”

The facility was allowing in-person visits one at a time, while also monitoring the amount of time people could visit.

Once residents receive their second vaccination, Ostergaard said they will start to allow more visitations at once.

In Minnesota, 7,392 people have received two doses of the vaccine as of Jan. 12. Another 144,503 people have received one dose.

Thrifty White Pharmacist Jake Meyer administers the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to resident Maggie Bartels outside the door to her residence on Tuesday, January 12, 2021, at The Waters on Mayowood in Rochester.  (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)
Thrifty White Pharmacist Jake Meyer administers the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to resident Maggie Bartels outside the door to her residence on Tuesday, January 12, 2021, at The Waters on Mayowood in Rochester. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)

Olmsted County, as of Jan. 7, has vaccinated 7,193 people, and the number continues to grow, with the state now moving on to the last of the first group of priority residents this week.

As vaccination continues in the county and in the retirement community, Ostergaard is hoping residents will have more opportunities.

“I just think it’s important to give our residents the opportunity to smile and think of what can happen this year versus what can’t,” she said. “So much of the past has been saying no and thinking of what we lost, and now we can start looking at what we’re gaining back, and what we can do with open eyes and positivity.”

Thrifty White Pharmacist Lisa Hynes draws doeses of the Modern COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday, January 12, 2021, at The Waters on Mayowood in Rochester.  (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)
Thrifty White Pharmacist Lisa Hynes draws doeses of the Modern COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday, January 12, 2021, at The Waters on Mayowood in Rochester. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)
Pharmacists from Thrifty White and Mayowood staff help administer the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to resident David Erickson on Tuesday, January 12, 2021, at The Waters on Mayowood in Rochester.  (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)
Pharmacists from Thrifty White and Mayowood staff help administer the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to resident David Erickson on Tuesday, January 12, 2021, at The Waters on Mayowood in Rochester. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)
Pharmacists from Thrifty White and Mayowood staff help administer the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to residents on Tuesday, January 12, 2021, at The Waters on Mayowood in Rochester.  (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)
Pharmacists from Thrifty White and Mayowood staff help administer the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to residents on Tuesday, January 12, 2021, at The Waters on Mayowood in Rochester. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)
Resident Assistant Mason Siefken wears a sticker after receiving the first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday, January 12, 2021, at The Waters on Mayowood in Rochester.  (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)
Resident Assistant Mason Siefken wears a sticker after receiving the first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday, January 12, 2021, at The Waters on Mayowood in Rochester. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)
Pharmacists from Thrifty White and Mayowood staff help administer the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to residents on Tuesday, January 12, 2021, at The Waters on Mayowood in Rochester.  (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)
Pharmacists from Thrifty White and Mayowood staff help administer the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to residents on Tuesday, January 12, 2021, at The Waters on Mayowood in Rochester. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)
Staff member Renee Meyer receives the first dose of the Modern COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday, January 12, 2021, at The Waters on Mayowood in Rochester.  (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)
Staff member Renee Meyer receives the first dose of the Modern COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday, January 12, 2021, at The Waters on Mayowood in Rochester. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)
Empty vials of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday, January 12, 2021, at The Waters on Mayowood in Rochester.  (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)
Empty vials of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday, January 12, 2021, at The Waters on Mayowood in Rochester. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)
Thrifty White Pharmacist Lisa Hynes draws doses of the Modern COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday, January 12, 2021, at The Waters on Mayowood in Rochester.  (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)
Thrifty White Pharmacist Lisa Hynes draws doses of the Modern COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday, January 12, 2021, at The Waters on Mayowood in Rochester. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)
Pharmacists from Thrifty White and Mayowood staff help administer the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to residents on Tuesday, January 12, 2021, at The Waters on Mayowood in Rochester.  (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)
Pharmacists from Thrifty White and Mayowood staff help administer the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to residents on Tuesday, January 12, 2021, at The Waters on Mayowood in Rochester. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)
Staff member Renee Meyer receives the first dose of the Modern COVID-19 vaccine administered by Thrifty White Pharmacist Lisa Hynes on Tuesday, January 12, 2021, at The Waters on Mayowood in Rochester.  (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)
Staff member Renee Meyer receives the first dose of the Modern COVID-19 vaccine administered by Thrifty White Pharmacist Lisa Hynes on Tuesday, January 12, 2021, at The Waters on Mayowood in Rochester. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)
An empty vial of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday, January 12, 2021, at The Waters on Mayowood in Rochester.  (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)
An empty vial of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday, January 12, 2021, at The Waters on Mayowood in Rochester. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)
Thrifty White Pharmacist Lisa Hynes draws doses of the Modern COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday, January 12, 2021, at The Waters on Mayowood in Rochester.  (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)
Thrifty White Pharmacist Lisa Hynes draws doses of the Modern COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday, January 12, 2021, at The Waters on Mayowood in Rochester. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)
Empty vials of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday, January 12, 2021, at The Waters on Mayowood in Rochester.  (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)
Empty vials of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday, January 12, 2021, at The Waters on Mayowood in Rochester. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)