NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - Monday is the first day of COVID vaccinations for residents and staffers at nursing homes in New York state.
As CBS2's John Dias reported, the CDC says more than 272,000 Americans have been vaccinated so far, including more than 18,000 in New York City yesterday.
It's the day Kelley Dixon, a resident at the Hebrew Home in Riverdale, has been eagerly awaiting; he was able to get Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine.
"Because I wanted to continue living. I have a lot of faith in the scientists," Dixon said.
Dixon, who turns 79 in February, jumped at the opportunity to be one of the first long-term facility residents in the state to get the shot.
"There's a multitude of things to do, but I want to see what's out in the real world," he said.
For the last 10 months, the retirement home has been following COVID guidelines, meaning visitors aren't allowed. But the vaccine means there's hope the policy could change in 2021.
"One of our residents was telling me about how she has two new great-grandchildren that have been born since March and she hasn't had a chance to hug them," said Daniel Reingold, President and CEO of the Hebrew Home at Riverdale.
Dr. Zachary Palace, the home's medical director, took the shot alongside Dixon.
"We always rather prevent disease than have to treat disease. So this is a real game changer for us," said Dr. Palace.
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A federal advisory panel voted Sunday to put people 75 and older and essential workers next in line for the shots. The essential workers include firefighters, police and corrections workers, teachers and school staff, those working in food, agricultural and manufacturing sectors, U.S. Postal Service employees, public transit workers and grocery store workers.
The New Jewish Home on the Upper West Side, and in Commack, Long Island, Gurwin Jewish Nursing & Rehabilitation Center also planned to administer the vaccine to residents and staff Monday.
Dr. Palace said he's pleased with the state's rollout.
"Without a doubt, the geriatric population, specifically the nursing home population, are so vulnerable. We've seen that both in New York state and we've see that around the country," he said.
As for Dixon, he already has plans once it's safe to get back to normal.
"I'm gonna go to Yonkers and see my grandkids," he told Dias.
Reingold said the hope is to have all 600 residents at the Hebrew Home receive the first dose of the vaccine by Wednesday.
According to sources, New York City's firefighters and EMS could receive the vaccine as soon as Wednesday. The department expects to receive 4,000 doses. Taking it will not be mandatory.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday the city is administering the vaccine twice as fast as the rest of the country.
"As of yesterday, 42.2% [of the city's doses] have been administered. Nationwide is under 20% have been administered," said the mayor.
149,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine should be coming to the city this week. Those are mainly for health care workers and people in community health centers, according to NYC Health Commissioner Dr. David Chokshi.
But while New York state will be receiving approximately 346,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine sometime this week, other states are not be getting as many doses as originally projected. New Jersey is now expecting 20% fewer doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for the month of December.
The head of Operation Warp Speed, Army Gen. Gus Perna, apologized Saturday, taking responsibility for a "miscommunication."
"When we had to decide what was going to eventually be shipped out, I had to lower the allocations to meet the releasable doses that were presented to me," Gen. Perna said. "So to the governors, to the governors' staffs, please accept my personal apology if this was disruptive in your decision making, and in your conversations with the people of your great state."
On Friday, Connecticut administered their first vaccines to staff and residents in a nursing home.
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