PASCO COUNTY, Fla. — As of Monday, nearly 700-thousand people across Florida have been fully vaccinated. Among them, a Pasco County man who is his wife’s essential caregiver.

Walter Kliewer, 70, received his second shot Monday morning.  His wife Jan Kliewer, who is a resident of The Watermark at Trinity, is also fully vaccinated.  

“I just got the shot and didn’t feel a thing,” Kliewer said. “I’m so relieved and I think it’s great.”

Kliewer was given the opportunity to get both doses at the facility because he has essential caregiver status.  Kliewer said his wife has both Parkinson’s disease and dementia and he visits with her at length daily.

“We met at a small college in Newberg, Oregon. I saw her across the room standing there with two of her friends,” Kliewer recalled with a smile.  “I looked across the room and I think I fell in love the very first time I saw her. I just said to myself wow, that is the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen in my life.”

The couple will mark their 50th wedding anniversary this September and Kliewer hopes the vaccine will allow them to celebrate with family.

“We’ve been together everyday which is great, but we have missed the rest of the family tremendously,” Kliewer said. “We have nine grandchildren and I haven’t been able to hug any of them for over a year.”

Which is why Kliewer said he didn’t hesitate to sign up for the vaccine when it was offered to him.

“It just means everything. It gives us hope,” said Kliewer. “I just can’t say enough about it in terms of the hope that it does give to people.”