BENNINGTON, Vt. (NEWS10) — Wednesday was the first opportunity for seniors 75 and up to get the COVID-19 vaccine in Vermont.

“I’m so excited, and I couldn’t wait for this day,” said 92-year-old Elsie.

Elsie, along with 75 other seniors, received their first dose of the vaccine at the former Southern Vermont College Campus in Bennington. Local officials say it is a state-affiliated vaccination site.

They have received their vaccine supplies from the state of Vermont. The vaccination site is using ultra-cold storage freezers provided by the hospital to store both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

Elsie says she has been eagerly waiting to get the bandaid on her arm and finally telling her daughter she’s been vaccinated.

Lenny Chapman says he felt the same way: “I wanted my life back, and I wanted it to be like the way it used to be.” He says this vaccine was more than just a reason to socialize; it was a chance for him to get back to work.

“Yes, I have an antique shop, and we closed it two weeks ago. So I would like to get back to work,” he said.

For Karen Walsh, she decided to get the vaccine to protect herself, others, and her family.

“COVID-19 has been very rampant in this particular area. I also have a very ill grandson, who we will do anything we can to protect him from having this virus,” said Walsh. 

Many Bennington residents who are 75 and older say scheduling their online appointment for the vaccine was quite easy. They say it was even more of a breeze to get the actual shot.

Trey Dobson is the Chief Medical Officer of the Southern Vermont Medical Center. Dobson says that this week, the vaccination site received 150 doses for the next two days.

“We are anticipating to get 450 doses each week through February. That will give us the capacity of doing about 50 each day or a little more. We can actually do a lot of vaccines here. With the staff and the setup we have, we could do 1,000 vaccines a day, if we have the vaccine supply,” he explained.

Dobson says this first vaccination clinic is just the beginning.

“We hope to get 75% of the population vaccinated by the middle to the end of the summer. At that point, we can then start interacting, traveling, dropping our masks, and associating with one another,” he said.

Vaccination appointments are scheduled through the state’s website or call center (855) 722-7878.