Nursing home staff, residents in New York to begin getting COVID-19 vaccine Monday

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination in in West Hartford, Connecticut
Mary Lou Galushko gives Jeanne Peters, 95, a rehab patient at The Reservoir, a nursing facility, the first coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination in West Hartford, CT on Dec. 18, 2020. New York state nursing home facilities will begin receiving the COVID-19 vaccine on Monday, Dec. 21, 2020.
Stephen Dunn/Pool via REUTERS

Residents and staff members at nursing homes across New York state will begin receiving the COVID-19 vaccine on Monday.

They will be the latest New Yorkers to get the inoculation during the first phase of the vaccination process. Over the next few weeks, staff members from designated pharmacies, such as Walgreens or CVS, will be dispatched to nursing homes to provide doses.

Each resident and staff member will get two COVID-19 vaccine doses, 21 days apart, to receive immunity from the deadly virus.

Stephen Hanse, president and CEO of the New York State Health Facilities Association and the New York State Center for Assisted Living, called Monday “a significant day in New York’s battle against the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“Following nursing homes, assisted living residents and staff are next on the state’s vaccination priority list and will begin receiving COVID-19 vaccinations in early 2021,” Hanse said. “The COVID-19 virus is the greatest public health threat our country has faced in most of our lifetimes, and our nursing home and assisted living residents and dedicated health care workers are on the front line of this pandemic. These vaccinations are critical to safeguarding our residents, staff and communities throughout New York.”

Vaccinations in New York began on Dec. 14 with the first front line health care workers receiving the FDA- and state-approved Pfizer vaccine. About half of the 170,000 doses for New York in the first phase are being provided to health care workers, with the other half going to nursing home staff and residents.

New York is also expected to soon receive in excess of 300,000 doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine. Unlike the Pfizer vaccine, which requires storage in super-cold freezers to remain stable, Moderna’s vaccine can be contained in standard medical refrigerators.

During a Sunday conference call with reporters, Governor Andrew Cuomo and state officials said the New York state received all of the Pfizer doses it was set to receive, with the Empire State being immune to shipping mishaps suffered in other states across the country.

More Pfizer and Moderna vaccines will come to New York in 2021 as the vaccination effort ramps up. 

In the meantime, New York continues to battle through the second wave of COVID-19. On Sunday, Cuomo reported that the state’s positivity rate was 5.05% as of Dec. 19, with 6,185 currently hospitalized statewide with the illness.

Another 123 New Yorkers died of COVID-19 on Saturday. More than 28,000 New Yorkers have succumbed to the illness since March 1.