New Yorkers grab COVID-19 vaccines – NBC New York

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New Yorkers, battered by months of isolation and worry, eagerly pocketed limited chances of getting the COVID-19 vaccine as the state began its first massive inoculations of the elderly and many essential workers .

Monday marked the first day of universal eligibility for everyone aged 75 and over and a much longer roster of workers, including transit workers, grocery store clerks, teachers, police officers. , firefighters and others.

Some pharmacies distributing the vaccines reported that their phone lines were full of customers seeking the vaccine. Even appointments between midnight and 4 a.m. at New York City’s two 24-hour vaccination sites quickly filled up.

“It gives you hope,” said David Garvin, who turns 80 on Saturday and was shot at a site in Brooklyn. “I have been in my room for six months.”

Rachel Batson, a 34-year-old English teacher, was briefly choked with emotion after being shot.

“I’m really thankful that I felt like I was getting my life back, on some level,” she said.

State officials have announced that new vaccination sites will open statewide, including at the State Fairgrounds in Onondaga County, a convention center in Westchester County, and Jones Beach on Long Island. Vaccinations are only available by appointment at all sites.

About 500 pharmacies statewide will begin offering the injections this week, Governor Andrew Cuomo said. 700 others have agreed to participate in the future.

About 300,000 doses of the vaccine now arrive from the federal government to state residents each week, but Cuomo has warned that with more than 4 million New Yorkers now eligible, the wait for an appointment could last until ‘at 14 weeks.

As vaccinations spread statewide, Rockland County officials say they have already used up the doses they have been given. NBC New York’s Lynda Baquero reports.

In Port Jefferson Station, Long Island, Fairview Pharmacy & Homecare Supply owner Michael Nastro said he was overwhelmed with demand for doses on Monday after being listed on a state website as a location for vaccination .

“The telephone system was paralyzed. I probably got six or seven hundred calls in about two or three hours. I mean, completely overwhelmed. I don’t even have the product yet, ”Nastro said.

Nastro, who first told Newsday his story, said he expected to receive 200 doses later this week.

The state has reportedly listed at least one site in error: The Saratoga Springs City School District posted a notice stating that a college was wrongly included. The Northern State School District said the state corrected the error.

For some, the wait for a date was shorter than expected. Annette Vasquez, a special education teacher in New York City, said she was surprised on Sunday that she could make an appointment for Monday, the first day New York teachers were eligible.

“I was waiting for March or maybe April,” Vasquez, 58, said.

She knows some people hold back, wanting to see how others do with the vaccine before they get it themselves, but she didn’t hesitate: “I think it’s the right thing to do. . You are better off trying anything that could help you than not trying anything at all.

Chuck Haughwout, for his part, is “100% impatient” to get the vaccine after learning on Monday that he and other grocery store workers are now eligible.

“For me, it’s a no-brainer,” said Haughwout, 57, a product manager at a Long Island supermarket. He started looking for a date on Monday and hopes to have one this week.

After Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio went back and forth on the vaccine expansion, a new group began receiving their first doses on Monday. Reports by Greg Cergol of NBC New York.

Almost a year of working within the aisles amidst thousands of patrons a day, some of whom ignore social distancing, has been agonizing and mentally draining, said Haughwout, who sits on the local union’s board of directors. 1,500 United Food and Commercial Workers. union. Just reducing this worry and fatigue by getting the vaccine, he believes, will make him “a healthier person.”

Other vaccination sites are also being set up in New York City, with a goal of delivering 1 million doses this month, Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the widening of eligibility on Friday, after a week of fighting between the Democratic governor and the mayor over whether the criteria should be expanded beyond healthcare workers and residents and staff retirement homes.

Now that more people are allowed to receive the vaccines, de Blasio said the federal government and vaccine manufacturers must send more doses to meet demand. He said the city has enough vaccines on hand to last for next week.

Tessa Huxley said she felt “immensely relieved” when she took her newly vaccinated 95-year-old mother out of the Brooklyn site. The older woman suffers from dementia, so Huxley arranged the date for her and was pleasantly surprised to get one on the first possible day.

“We’re just thrilled,” Huxley said. “It has been a scary year.”



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