'We wanted to do whatever we could to protect ourselves and others':
It's been almost one year since Central Georgia's first confirmed case of COVID-19.
Since then, close to 14,000 Georgians have died from the virus.
A year later, we're starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel.
Over one million people in the Peach State and 50 million Americans have received at least one dose of the vaccine so far, each one with their own story and their own reasons for getting the vaccine.
Each dose is more than a number, including Elizabeth and Theron Simpson.
When their turn came, they were two of the first people in line.
"We're fortunate. We've already had both of our shots," says Theron.
The two got married 43 years ago and have traveled the world together.
Paris, Thailand, Japan, and Guam are just a few of the couple's favorite destinations.
They were on a cruise around South America when the first cases of COVID-19 were spreading. Since then, they've lost people close to them.
"No family, but many, many friends, says Elizabeth. "It's just devastating to hear."
Then, they heard they'd be at the top of the list to receive the vaccine since they live at Carlyle Place in Macon.
They were thrilled.
"We were both very ready -- I guess that's the real answer. We had our sleeves rolled up, and had they not given us a time slot, we probably would have been the first ones in line."
They weren't the only ones.
"You can see the enthusiasm as you walk around the campus seeing people with a smile on their face," Theron says.
Both say they had a sore arm afterwards, but that was their most severe side effect.
"I said, 'I think I'm just gonna be positive about this no matter what happens, I'm gonna feel great,' and that's really the case," says Elizabeth.
Elizabeth says they had a lot of reasons to get vaccinated, but one stood out.
"As much as people of color are being so negatively impacted, we thought that was extremely important," she says. "When we think about what we've seen and the number of deaths, we think it's critical and we're in that category where we're considered to be among those most vulnerable, and so we wanted to do whatever we could to protect ourselves and others."
More Than a Number: Macon couple vaccinated against COVID-19 encourages others to get the shot
The couple says one of the best parts about living at Carlyle Place is the camaraderie.
Now that most people there have been vaccinated, Elizabeth says she just wants give everyone a big hug again.
The couple doesn't like sitting around and they say they're ready to get back out into the world before they have to slow down in life, so they're being optimistic about what lies ahead.
"I have a motto -- 'Plan ahead to get ahead,'" says Theron. "We're gonna go to Barbados for two weeks in October, and we've already booked a cruise to go to Australia and New Zealand in February of next year."
Elizabeth and Theron say even though they're vaccinated, they're still being careful.
He says now, they're just waiting for everyone else to catch up.
CDC: What older adults need to know about COVID-19 vaccines:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says some people are concerned about getting vaccinated now that COVID-19 vaccines are available in the United States. While more COVID-19 vaccines are being developed as quickly as possible, routine processes and procedures remain in place to ensure the safety of any vaccine that is authorized or approved for use. The CDC says safety is a top priority, and there are many reasons to get vaccinated.
Here is some information from the CDC about vaccination for older adults, and myths and facts about the COVID-19 vaccines.