In an email to staff obtained by The Times, an executive at NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital said he was “disappointed and saddened that this has happened.”
Hospital distribution rules state that workers at greatest risk should receive the vaccine first.
However, amid rumors that anyone could stand in line for the vaccine, several low-risk workers, some of whom had worked from home during the pandemic, received it, the Times reported.
“We are proud to have vaccinated thousands of patient-contact workers in just over a week, and we will continue to do so until everyone receives a vaccine,” said NewYork- Presbyterian in a statement.
“We follow all New York State Department of Health guidelines on prioritizing [intensive care unit] and [emergency department] staff and equitable access for all ”, we read.
The Hill attempted to reach NewYork-Presbyterian for confirmation but could not receive an immediate response.
Workers at several other New York-area hospitals also told The Times they objected to the way the vaccine was distributed, but feared professional reprisals for speaking out. Some doctors at Mount Sinai Hospital could have joined the line for the vaccine simply by saying they were handling “COVID-related procedures.”
Most states have prioritized health workers and the elderly in vaccine distribution. According to the Times, individual hospitals have much of the power to develop their own vaccination plans.
A doctor from Mount Sinai said all the rumors about how easily the line could be hoped for were true, but their very existence demonstrated a lack of trust among the workers.
Ramon Tallaj, who is on a vaccine deployment advisory task force, told The Times that the sense of competition will likely fade as access to the vaccine improves.
“People are going to fight over who goes first and who doesn’t first, but the important thing is that it happens,” he told the newspaper.
“I think what’s sad is that people are starting to turn on each other,” a doctor who works at Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital told The Times. “Can you honestly say this clerk deserves it before me?” No, but no one deserves it before anyone else.