Nursing home residents anxiously awaiting COVID vaccine

COVID-19 News and Information
EAST ISLIP, Long Island (WABC) -- For most nursing home residents, the new COVID vaccine can't come soon enough - just ask the staff at Momentum at South Bay in East Islip.

"There's so much excitement -- to choose who wants to go first was something to see. This generation of fighters, they want to get back to a sense of normalcy," said Joe Aplustille.

Residents like 77-year-old Carol Fitzpatrick, who had a mild case of COVID a few months back are anxiously awaiting the vaccine. She still doesn't see her family, unless it is by a window, or through a phone.

"For me, I lost a lot of friends," said Fitzpatrick.

Now, the nursing home has no COVID cases, and visitation is tightly restricted through negative tests, and limits on the number allowed in.

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If the Pfizer COVID vaccine receives final approval by the FDA Friday, New York could get in a shipment of the vaccine as soon as Sunday.



They have readied the room for the vaccines, and administrators tell Eyewitness News when Walgreens comes in the nursing home next week, they will likely vaccinate people by cohort - wing by wing in the building.

"Probably unit by unit - then will be protected, and then we'll move on to the next unit, and that would really solidify our defense against the virus," added Aplustille.

The goal is to transition from defense to offense - because it is different even for those who have lived through the toughest of times.

"A couple of folks have been in the wars - they go over it, talk about it - but this is different. This is like crazy different, you know?" said Fitzpatrick.

Fitzpatrick's grandson is only five, and you can't hug your grandchild through a window.

"I just want to give him a hug and a kiss, because that's the part you miss, you know?" she said.

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With the FDA advisory panel meeting in just a few days to review the first vaccine candidate, states are working on how to distribute the Pfizer vaccine if it gets approved.



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