Staff members at Gurwin Jewish Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Commack were first in line to receive the initial doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in December, and they made history again 21 days later as those who received their first dose of the two-dose Pfizer BioNTech vaccine on Dec. 21 received their second at a clinic run by Walgreens at the skilled nursing facility on Jan. 11.
The vaccine, a two-dose regimen that provides up to more than 90% resistance to the COVID-19 virus, received Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA in December, and long-term care workers and residents were prioritized to receive the potentially life-saving vaccines ahead of the rest of the population.
“I received my second dose of the vaccine today, along with many of my colleagues and residents,” said Julia Salmon-Allen, a Certified Nursing Assistant at the Gurwin Center. “I have been worried about getting COVID-19 since March, and if this will protect me, my family and our residents, I’m happy to sign up.”
“I feel great physically, and also reassured knowing that this is a step forward,” said Stuart B. Almer, President and CEO of the Gurwin Healthcare System, of which the nursing and rehabilitation center is a part of. “Our community has been on edge for months, especially our family members who have not been able to visit since March. The vaccine is a positive step in the direction of bringing families back together with their loved ones.”
NYS mandates still require nursing homes to go 14 days without any positive cases of COVID-19 among staff or residents in order to allow visitation.
In addition to providing second doses, Walgreens staff also began vaccinating additional staff and residents with their initial dose. They will receive the second dose on the 1st of February.