A son and his father are both breathing a sigh of relief after they were able to get their first COVID-19 vaccine shot together at a New York skilled nursing facility. 

Josh Kovner, 34, a therapeutic recreation assistant for Excel at Woodbury Rehabilitation and Nursing in Woodbury, NY, received his first shot of the two-dose vaccine on Jan. 6, along with his father, Alan, 73, who’s currently receiving short-term rehab at the facility.

Though the moment wasn’t planned and “just kind of happened,” Kovner said he was happy the vaccine was available to them both at the same time, which is representative of the various scenarios playing out across the country as vaccines are rolled out.  

“I was eager to get it because more than just keeping myself and my loved ones safe, I work in a place with a lot of vulnerable people, and the more staff get vaccinated, the safer everyone is going to be,” he told McKnight’s Long-Term Care News on Wednesday. 

“[My father] would’ve been eligible at his age [to get the vaccine] but with him being at the facility, even temporarily, that made it available to him,” the younger Kovner explained. “He was happy about that.” 

Kovner’s father, who also has an autoimmune condition, was sick earlier in the year while staying at a different facility. During that period, Kovner said, his dad lost strength. That made him nervous about his father potentially catching the disease. 

“For me, it was really just a relief that he received the first dose,” he said. “Mostly, the relief was the overwhelming emotion. Neither of us are particularly emotionally dramatic people. It was a little funny for us [being] recorded getting it together.” 

A second vaccine clinic at the facility is scheduled for next week. Kovner encouraged his fellow nursing home workers and others who are skeptical about the vaccine to get the doses.  

“It’s very important for as many people as possible to get it,” Kovner said. “I think some people are a little bit nervous about it coming out at a much earlier ETA than was originally estimated.” 

“People are concerned about the science being politicized and it being rushed, but everybody has really been okay. It seems to have a high rate of effectiveness. You’re going to have a sore arm but really just think about how much safer you and everyone around you will be,” he added.