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Staff, residents of Sayre Christian Village receive COVID-19 vaccine

Posted at 4:09 PM, Dec 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-30 19:43:09-05

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Nearly 200 staff members and residents of Lexington’s Sayre Christian Village health care facility received the first round of their COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday morning, and while CEO Karen Venis noted that you couldn’t see the smiles, (due to the masks) you could see the excitement in everyone’s eyes. And you could certainly hear it in their voices.

“It’s heaven. Or it’s got to be the next best thing,” Venis said.

Sue Combs, who’s being cared for in the health care center, was first to roll up her sleeve.

“It’s something I’ve waited for, for so long,” she said. “I can’t wait to get outside and to get with people,” Combs said, eluding to the ten months it has been since she’s been able to have a contact visit with family members.

Perhaps no one here is more excited to get this shot of protection from the virus than Millie Johnson. Johnson is the lead house keeper here and a breast cancer survivor.

“I really had to mind my Ps and Qs,” she said while discussing the precautions she had to take given she’s considered at high-risk for contracting the virus. But despite her vulnerability, she never thought about turning her back on her job, and her residents.

“I love my job. I love working with the residents and I love working with my employees, so that never did cross my mind. I think I was more worried about the residents than I was myself,” Johnson said.

That feeling isn’t an official prerequisite for working at Sayre Christian Village, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to feel that way. Johnson, like so many other heroes here, put their own lives on the backburner for ten months to ensure the safety of everyone in their care, both here and at home.

“I do have kids, so you think about every little thing you’re doing,” said Registered Nursing Assistant Valencia Hernandez.

Now, in just few weeks, once the vaccine begins to do its work inside their bodies, they won’t have to worry nearly as much.

“It’s going to be a great day for our residents, their families and our staff. It gets us one step closer to putting COVID behind us,” Venis said.

Venis had a mask on, but you could tell she was smiling as she said that.