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'We're just elated' | Fully-vaccinated couple looking forward to seeing granddaughters for first time in a year

After weeks of trying to book an appointment, Joe and Ruth Dickens received their second doses of the vaccine in March and are excited to see family again.

GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. — Joe and Ruth Dickens had tears in their eyes when talking about getting to see their granddaughters again, for the first time in about a year. 

The Guilford County couple spent weeks trying to get COVID-19 vaccine shot and spoke with WFMY News 2's Marissa Tansino about the hardship of not being able to book an appointment back in February. 

Just days later, Joe, 85, and Ruth, 78, got the call to come in for their first doses. 

"We could not have asked for a better experience with the folks that actually handle the shots. They were great," said Ruth. "By the time we registered, got in, and sat down, we were not there five minutes waiting."

The Dickens said their granddaughters refused to visit beforehand, with fear they would put their grandparents at risk of getting COVID-19. 

But since getting their second doses in mid-March, the granddaughters booked flights to Guilford County and will be seeing their grandparents for the first time in a year in the next few weeks. 

"I told them, I said, I got to touch you. I know that’s a forbidden thing, even now, but with masks, I got to at least touch you," said Ruth. 

"You can't believe how we feel," said Joe. 

"We're just elated," said Ruth. 

The couple has been keeping in touch with the family through weekly video calls but admits it doesn't come close to seeing loved ones in person. 

"It’ll take a while to get over the shock of seeing them. I’ll be speechless. I’ll be speechless. It's just...we've missed them so much, we really have. They’re great kids," said Joe. 

The couple has hope now for a brighter future for not just them, but for all, and that life will get back to normal one day soon. 

"Together we can do a lot and I don’t mean physically touching each other, but in our thoughts and in our prayers," said Ruth. 

"I have really learned to be so thankful now. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate people," said Joe.

The couple says they're still practicing caution even though they're fully vaccinated, like wearing masks and staying home. 

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