SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – One year ago, staff from Sanford Health were rolling up their sleeves to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

While it was a day many people had been waiting for, it was also a day that staff from Sanford Health won’t soon forget.

Jody Huber was the first frontline worker at Sanford Health in Sioux Falls to receive the vaccination.

“For myself, it was excitement, it was hope, I think our pediatric ICU, even though we were not hit nearly as hard as the adult ICU, it was our sign of hope, we were all very excited for it, thinking this was our way out of the pandemic,” pediatric intensive care physician/medical director pediatric ICU, Sanford, Jody Huber said.

For Alecia O’Neill, who is the senior living administrator for the Good Samaritan Society in Sioux Falls, says getting the shot that day meant not only was she taking a step to protect herself, but others.

“Thinking back to that day I just remember it was surreal, we’re living history right now, to be one of the first to have that opportunity to step up and say ‘yeah, I’ll do this,’ and protect our residents, myself, and our families,” senior living administrator, Good Samaritan Society, Alecia O’Neill siad.

A year later, more people have the opportunity to get vaccinated, including children.

“The CDC approved authorization for children 5 to 11 to receive the Pfizer vaccine, so we’ve had a number of children be vaccinated and we are hopeful they will continue to be vaccinated to help prevent that more severe disease,” Huber said.

And booster shots are also available to those who are eligible.

“About 80% of our eligible residents across our footprint have received their boosters and I know several staff have been lining up to get that shot,” O’Neill said.

Both would encourage others to get vaccinated if they haven’t yet.

“What we are seeing now is that those people that are getting very sick seem to be those that haven’t been receiving their vaccines,” Huber said.

On Wednesday, Doctors from Avera and Sanford along with the city Public Health Director held a news conference today updating people on COVID-19.