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NY nursing home residents await the vaccine after approval

Posted at 10:14 PM, Dec 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-11 22:14:50-05

MANHATTAN — With the FDA green lighting the first COVID-19 vaccine, millions of the highest priority patients and their health care providers are lining up.

“I am so eager for her to receive it” Sam Shaffer, the son of a nursing home resident, told PIX11 News about the Pfizer vaccine.

This dutiful son is counting down to Monday, Dec. 21. That's when his 91-year-old mother Shoshonna, a COVID-19 survivor, is expected to join 280 other residents of Mary Manning Walsh nursing home, in receiving the Pfizer vaccine.

“I lived through her suffering through COVID,” Shaffer added. “Given she recovered, she can go through anything."

The CEO of ArchCare’s long term facilities says more than 90% of 1,700 residents want the Pfizer vaccine immediately, but only about half of its 3,000 staff members do:

“Some are lining up saying I want to be be first, but the others say, 'you get it and the next round we’ll see if we’ll get it.'” Scott LaRue, ArchCare CEO, told PIX11 News.

One staff member, the director of therapeutic recreation at Mary Manning Walsh, is eager to convince others.

“This is something that has been tested and seems safe,” Michael Hurder told PIX11 News.

The logistics of getting those hundreds of thousands of doses that need to be in special hyper-cooled freezers is daunting. As soon as the FDA releases specific addresses, UPS and Fedex start rolling out. New York is on pace to get 175,000 Pfizer doses, and 346,000 from Moderna, if it gets approved next week. New Jersey is expected to receive at least 76,000 doses initially.

Mayor de Blasio is attempting to make sure the vaccine is equitably distributed. He's established new Vaccine Command Center.

It launches on Monday.

“The vaccine command center is going to be the go-to location to make sure the vaccine distribution is effective and far,” Mayor de Blasio said.