coronavirus vaccine

First Nursing Home Residents, Staff in CT Get COVID-19 Vaccines

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The first doses of the coronavirus vaccine have been administered to staff and residents of a nursing home in Connecticut.

Jean Peters, a 95-year-old resident of the Reservoir in West Hartford, was the first nursing home resident to get vaccinated.

"She was so pumped up," Gov. Ned Lamont said.

She said she might not be able to see her family for the holidays, but hopes to celebrate in a month or two, have her vaccines and see her family.

The first Connecticut nursing home staff and patients received the Pfizer COVID vaccine on Friday morning.

"These vials of hope have arrived. Today is a historic day and this vaccine is critical to our ability to end this pandemic," Dr. Richard Feifer, the executive vice president and chief medical officer and president of Genesis Physician Services, said.

The vaccines arrived nine months after the first infection, Lamont said during a news conference at The Reservoir in West Hartford to announce the launch of Connecticut’s nursing home COVID-19 vaccination program.

Under a joint state-federal initiative involving Connecticut and three other states, up to five nursing homes could begin vaccinating staff and residents sooner than the state's planned Dec. 21 rollout for long-term care facilities.

The governor expects around 20,000 long-term care residents and the staff will receive both doses of the vaccine by the end of January.

CVS Health is one of two health companies that will be administering vaccines at Connecticut’s long-term care facilities.

Jonathan Roberts, the executive vice president and chief operating officer of CVS Health, called Friday an important day for our country, state and members of long-term care facilities.

Connecticut Department of Public Health Acting Commissioner Dr. Deidre Gifford called Friday a "remarkable and joyful day" and thanked the people who took part in clinical trials of the vaccines, leading to the delivery of vaccines that are now being administered.

With Christmas a week away, Lamont is urging people to stay home and said the time will come later when families will be able to gather to celebrate thanks to "vials of hope" after people are vaccinated.

When asked about allowing visitors to nursing homes, Feifer said COVID-19 safety precautions will need to continue for weeks.

As of Thursday, a total of 1,982 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine had been administered in Connecticut. This is the first week of vaccinations and all of the doses at that point had been administered to healthcare workers.

Hospital employees in Connecticut were the first to begin getting vaccinated.

NBC Connecticut and Associated Press
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