Since mid-March the vaccination tiers have been opening up on an almost a weekly basis in NYC, with 16-years old and above finally getting the go-ahead to get vaccinated on April 6. The overall goal to beat COVID is to vaccinate as many people as possible. With vaccine production ramping up and the addition of the third vaccine, the Johnson & Johnson one dose, allowing the greater population accessibility to the vaccine is deemed the best strategy. However, each time a tier opens there is an online scramble for vaccination appointments, which are filled within minutes.
Even though seniors got a head start in accessing appointments, they are still handicapped by the lack of internet and computer access in addition to having more difficulty in traveling to their appointments. Community organizations, like St. Nicks Alliance, have jumped in to assist. As of April 2, St. Nicks Alliance has brought the COVID-19 vaccine to 350 seniors or vice versa. They most recently partnered with Nate’s Pharmacy and New York City Department of Health (NYC Health) to bring 150 seniors their second dose of the Moderna vaccine on April 2nd at Jennings Hall (260 Powers St.). In addition, they have also assisted many seniors with making vaccination appointments.
The seniors need a place within the community where they can have easy access to the vaccine due to their age, health conditions, [and mobility] walkers and wheelchairsDebra Benders, president of Cooper Park Residents Council
As of April 6, 2021, the CDC website informs that only 34.2% of seniors in Kings County (Brooklyn) have been fully vaccinated. With competition for vaccination appointments at an all-time high, seniors need the help that their local community organizations provide now more than ever.
When asked about her experience, Debra Benders, president of Cooper Park Residents Council, said, “I have received several calls from seniors asking if I knew where they could get the vaccine that was close to home. I actually called several places and the response was ‘our waiting list is full or we have too many people and not enough of the vaccine, but our waiting list is full’. The seniors need a place within the community where they can have easy access to the vaccine due to their age, health conditions, [and mobility] walkers and wheelchairs. Thanks to the support of St. Nicks Alliance some residents were able to get the vaccine at Woodhull hospital. I was one of the residents who was able to receive the vaccine. Thank you, St. Nicks Alliance, for always being there for Cooper Park Houses.”
Jose Leon, the deputy executive director of St. Nicks Alliance, stated, “St. Nicks Alliance is still working on bringing vaccines to the most vulnerable in our community. We are working with NYC Health and elected officials to make the community center at 211 Ainslie, which is also home to the Swinging Sixties Senior Center, a vaccination site in addition to bringing mobile pop-up vaccination sites to other large facilities within the community.” In addition he communicated that it would be much more effective to have local sites dedicated to vaccinating seniors and other vulnerable populations. That he is thankful for the opportunities NYC Health and Hospitals/Woodhull provides, and it would be more beneficial to these populations to have sites that are closer to them.