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‘Brighter Days Ahead’: Veterans Nursing Home Receives First Doses Of Vaccine After Dozens Died Of COVID

Jessica Rinaldo/The Boston Globe

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Jake Dima Contributor
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A veterans nursing home in Massachusetts that has been battered by the coronavirus since the spring gave residents their first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday.

The Holyoke Soldiers’ Home saw 76 virus-related deaths throughout the pandemic, spurring a federal investigation, according to CNN. A grand jury indicted two supervisors at the care facility for allegedly neglecting residents after the probe detailed errors such as combining coronavirus-positive and negative individuals in the same room, CNN reported.

“I am very happy about getting the vaccine. My wish is that everyone in the world can get the vaccine,” Robert Aucoin, a 78-year-old Air Force veteran who served during the Vietnam era, told the Massachusetts Department of Health.

Robert Aucoin, 78, a U.S. Air Force veteran and resident at the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke, receiving the first COVID-19 vaccine at the Home. Photo credit: Leon Nguyen/The Springfield Republican

Robert Aucoin, 78, a U.S. Air Force veteran and resident at the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke, receiving the first COVID-19 vaccine at the Home. (Leon Nguyen/The Springfield Republican)

Immunizations were provided to residents in both the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home and the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home by state authorities.

“I’m hopeful this will help everybody,” 94-year-old Chelsea resident Dominic Pitella, a U.S. Army Air Corps Corporal who served in the Pacific in World War II, said about receiving the first shot of his COVID-19 vaccination.

Republican Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said the wave of immunizations in care homes signals “brighter days ahead for us all.” (RELATED: 6 Dead, Over 70 Positive In Coronavirus Outbreak In Massachusetts Nursing Home)

“Administering vaccines to our frontline health care workers and now some of our most vulnerable residents in the Soldiers’ Home provides relief and hope that there are brighter days ahead for all,” Baker said in the release.

“We are pleased to start providing the first dose to the incredible men and women living in both the Holyoke and Chelsea facilities to offer more protection from COVID-19, and remain grateful to the dedicated staff who are working tirelessly to keep our veterans safe and healthy during the pandemic.”

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