Hope is Here!

As more get vaccinated the more we get back to normal

Open Monday–Saturday from 10 a.m.–6 p.m. NYC free Pfizer Biontech COVID-19 vaccination site at 211 Ainslie Street, Williamsburg Brooklyn NY – photo by Stefano Giovannini

The Science of the Vaccine:
Despite the vaccine appearing rushed, the science that created the COVID-19 vaccines has been in the works for many years.   In particular two streams of this focus in research had been taking place at the University of Pennsylvania and at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in their studies of other coronaviruses SARS and MERS.  There are other reasons the vaccines were developed quickly: a  global sharing of COVID-19’s genetic data; the vaccine process didn’t skip any steps, but some stages were done simultaneously; due to a funding flow reaching them early on scientists could focus on the research instead of fundraising first to pay for the necessities; scientists used social media to recruit study volunteers were among many factors.  

(l to r) Representative Carolyn Maloney, Resident Council Chairman Debra Benders, and Vice Chairperson Elisha Fye at Cooper Park pop-up vaccination site.

Bringing the Vaccine to the People!

Vaccines became more readily available since the beginning of April.  More vaccination sites appeared, in addition to vaccinations becoming more available at drug stores and doctors’ offices.   This especially helped areas who had previously been in a vaccine desert.

Ribbon cutting on May 7 for the NYC free Pfizer Biontech Covid vaccination site at St Nicks Alliance’s Swinging Sixties site, 211 Ainslie street, Williamsburg Brooklyn NY – photo by Stefano Giovannini

211 Ainslie Street

After months of advocacy from Community Board 1 and leaders who serve the elderly, North Brooklyn finally got a NYC COVID-19 vaccination center at the community’s town hall (211 Ainslie Street) that opened May 7.  Currently all ages from 12-years old and older can walk in without an appointment Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and receive the Pfizer vaccine.

This site came to be through the united effort of many community groups including Southside United H.D.F.C – Los Sures, Cooper Park Residents Council, Conselyea Street Block Association, Williamsburg Houses Residents Council, Lindsay Park Cooperative, St. Nicks Alliance, The People’s Firehouse, Community Board 1, plus a helpful nudge from Assembly Member Emily Gallagher convinced City Hall leaders of the dire need to open a vaccination site to serve seniors and the community’s most vulnerable or disenfranchised.

“This community was hit really hard by COVID.  It’s really important that our seniors have access to walkable vaccination centers.  We have to make sure we have the vaccines locally and have them available to all.  It’s not enough for vaccinations to be free, they also have to be at an easy place to get to,” said Gallagher.

Early on in the pandemic Los Sures and St. Nicks Alliance partnered up and witnessed through serving the community the need for a local vaccination site.  “Our most vulnerable population, our seniors, were the ones most at risk. For them to travel out of the community to try to get themselves on a list to get a shot and to navigate technology, it all became cumbersome. Our seniors today feel safe they can stay in their neighborhood get their vaccination, and that it’s done with love for them and for the overall health of our community,” said Southside United HDFC–Los Sures Exec. Dir. Juan Ramos.   Prior to the vaccination site at 211 Ainslie St. Nicks Allliance and Los Sures were shuttling seniors to Woodhull Hospital to get vaccinations.

Aziz Fecunda receiving his vaccination at Cooper Houses. Aziz has been outside only a few times since the pandemic begain. Thanks to Congreswoman Maloney’s efforts Aziz will be able to travel around neighborhood again.

Cooper Park Houses, 76 Kingsland Avenue

On April 30, a Northwell Health COVID-19 vaccination pop-up site arrived at Cooper Park Houses for the day. This is due to Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and Cooper Park Houses residents expressing the need for a vaccination site here.  The community is home to 1,575 New Yorkers, with significant numbers that are elderly, disabled, and BIPOC residents who are at high risk in regards to COVID-19.

“I am thrilled that the City listened to the people of Cooper Park Houses and Residents’ Association President Debra Benders and are opening up a vaccination site for these residents. Vaccine distribution should be easy, accessible, and free for all. Neglecting to place a vaccination site at Cooper Park Houses was a roadblock to this goal. I’m hopeful that this pop up will help drive up vaccination rates at Cooper Park Houses and keep these New Yorkers safe,” said Maloney.

It looks like the vaccine has spiked the COVID-19 virus ball so we can get back to normal.
Volleyball players at McCarren Park on 05.25.2021

As more of the population gets vaccinated more safety protocols are being rescinded.   A person reaches fully vaccinated status two-weeks after the second dose of Pfizer or Moderna or the solo dose of Johnson and Johnson.   As of May 19th, New York State adopted the CDC’s Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People.  This guidance states fully vaccinated people can: Resume activities without wearing masks or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance. Resume domestic travel and refrain from testing before or after travel or self-quarantine after travel. Refrain from quarantine following a known exposure if asymptomatic. And more.

More and more are going around maskless, and it is on the honor policy that those unmasked are fully vaccinated.  However scientific experts say the danger of getting COVID-19, spreading the virus, or getting a severe case of COVID that causes hospitalization or death is highly unlikely for the fully vaccinated. 

As of this writing, restaurants are at 100% capacity (with 6-feet social distancing for those not vaccinated); movie theaters are at 33% capacity, the Greenpoint Library is now open for patrons to browse shelves for a set period of time and make appointments to use computers as well as pick-up and drop-off services. There is more exciting normalcy to come.

Giglio 2019

The Knickerbocker Avenue 3rd Annual Puerto Rican Parade, June 13 at 3 p.m. The route for the first parade traveled along Knickerbocker Avenue from Woodbine Street to Jefferson Street.  The route for 2021’s parade hasn’t been officially confirmed yet.  The organizers will be following COVID-19 safety guidance.  To volunteer or for more info email: knickerbockerpuertoricanparade@gmail.com

According to the Our Lady of Mount Carmel website: www.olmcfeast.com the Giglio Feast will return to Havemeyer Street on July 7–July 18.  Due to not having the festival last year and the previous uncertainty of it happening this year organizers are asking for the community’s support: going to http://givecentral.org/olmc-feast  or text FEAST to 272-808-0223.

In-class learning will return in the fall according to the NYC Department of Education. There will be only one option for students this fall and that will be returning to the classroom for in-class learning. For more info: https://www.schools.nyc.gov/about-us/news/chancellor-s-message-for-families

2015 NYC Marathon

NYC Marathon will celebrate it’s 50th running on November 7.   Get ready to watch the runners go by on Bedford and Manhattan Avenues! For details go to: https://www.nyrr.org/tcsnycmarathon/

Dime McCarren 5K/10K will run this October.

Author: Lori Ann Doyon

Managing editor, head writer, and lead photographer of Greenline | North Brooklyn News since October 2014. Resident of Williamsburg, Brooklyn since 1990.

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