DAVENPORT, Iowa — COVID-19 vaccines have officially been around for one year, but there is still some hesitancy in the over-65 population to venture out of the home. At The Center for Active Seniors, attendance is still low.
CEO and President Laura Copp sees seniors come out for certain activities in bigger numbers, but says for the most part it's still significantly less than before the pandemic hit.
"Seniors are cautious, and they are being very conservative in their return to normal activities. It's been a very slow return to any type of normal. So our numbers are really low," Copp said.
She does believe the access to vaccines and the booster shots is helping with seniors hesitancy.
"I think having access to the vaccine, having access to the booster is super important to them as a way to protect themselves and have an opportunity to return to normal," Copp said.
Only 50% of seniors in the United States over the age of 65 have received their booster shot according to the CDC. It's a shocking statistic considering over 87% of seniors are fully vaccinated.
"We were anxious to open our doors," says Copp, "Because we know that socialization is a really key component to successful aging."
Darrell and Anne Thode have made their reappearance at CASI. They've started a Tai chi class, and say for them it's about picking and choosing what they feel safe doing.
"We're separated enough that we're all wearing masks, and we're all aware that we have to be mindful of the protocols," Anne Thode said.
They both received their booster shots back in October. Darrell used to volunteer at CASI quite a bit before the pandemic. This was their first time back since the pandemic shut the center down initially in the spring 2020.
"To do something out together and it's physically and mentally challenging is a big break from sitting at home," Anne said.
It's a major factor for their comfort level. The same goes for Elmer Holdorl. He's been visiting CASI for about 12 years. It was difficult for him when the center shut down as well.
"It was pretty lonesome. My grandkids brought my meals, it was a long year," Holdorl said. "We were closed in for a whole year."
He also has received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and a booster shot. His booster was back in September.
All three of these seniors expressing caution, but also taking the vaccines as a chance to get back to a sense of normal. Holdorl, saying he is now excited to see vaccinations expanding to children so that he can get back to even more things he's been missing.
"I'm glad that small children 5 to 11-year-old can start getting there. That's going to help a lot with being able to come home to see grandma and grandpa," Holdorl said.
As a country, just over 27% of Americans have received a booster dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.