Vaccine site draws crowds for ‘shot of hope’
BY DEAN MOSES
Brooklynites lined the streets on
Jan. 11 outside vaccine distribution
centers, including Bushwick High
School, where individuals outside
the healthcare fi eld could receive the
COVID-19 vaccine for the fi rst time.
Jan. 11 marked another historic
day in the fi ght against the novel coronavirus,
ushering in the Phase 1B dispersal
of the vaccine, nearly a month
after the shot was made available to
high-priority healthcare workers and
nursing home residents and staff.
Throughout the tristate area, NYC
COVID-19 vaccine hubs opened their
doors to those in Phase 1B priority
Monday. These inoculation sites aim
to serve thousands of eligible patients
who fall under the following categories:
People ages 75 and older, teachers,
education staff, fi rst responders,
public safety employees, public transit
workers, grocery workers, fi re service,
police and investigations, public
safety, corrections, schools, child care,
and homeless shelters.
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Avenue, lines were broken up into two
sections in order to prevent a sea of people
from clustering around the block.
Wait times were amended for the elderly
over 75 and those with disabilities, allowing
the vulnerable to skip the wait.
Reminiscent of the early voter lines
the city saw in October and November,
the winding Bushwick vaccine
hub lines may have been long, but spirits
were high. Many left the campus
breathing a sigh of relief — the vaccine
had fi nally been administered.
Elderly couples like Bill and Lucy
Friedman made sure to bundle up in
preparation for long wait times. Due to
their age they were swiftly inoculated.
“I got it because I want to live, and
I want everyone to get out of lockdown
and end the problems we are facing
while fi ghting the pandemic,” Bill
The couple, both aged 77, trekked
from Manhattan to their early morning
appointment at the Bushwick Campus
with aid from their son, who registered
them online. The pair say the
process was simple: Those interested
A man receives the COVID-19 vaccine at Bushwick High Schoo on Jan. 11l. Photo by Dean Moses
merely create an account online and
then fi ll out a questionnaire regarding
age, preferred language, race, and sex
Patients must also include their insurance,
and answer screening questions.
They then must fi ll out a digital
form prior to the appointment.
Hellen Walls, 89, said she took those
steps in order to keep herself safe. The
senior said she was both ecstatic and
relieved to fi nally be able protect herself
from COVID-19. “I’ve been waiting
since the vaccine came out. I’m very
happy to get it,” she said.
For others visiting these sites,
proof may be an employed ID card, pay
stub or even a letter from an employer
to substantiate occupation or priority
status. Teachers and school staff were
also deemed eligible to receive the vaccine
as of Monday.
Richard Brownstone is the head of a
middle school, putting him in the same
space as fellow staff members and children.
For him, this vaccine is a level of
an assurance for his colleagues, family,
and the children he works with.
“It certainly makes me feel a lot
safer going into a school. I’m in direct
contact with kids all the time. I’m
around them in the room where they
eat and take their masks off. I feel a lot
safer, and I have my own child at home
and I want to know that I’m not bringing
anything home to hurt them,”
Joann Nunziata, who also works at
a public school, said she was motivated
to get the vaccine after four of her colleagues
caught the virus. In light of
this and the fact that her husband has
underlying issues, Nunziata made her
appointment on the fi rst day she was
afforded the ability to get inoculated.
“I feel absolutely fi ne. After you get
the shot, you have to wait 15 minutes to
make sure you don’t have a reaction,”
she said, adding that she will return in
February for her second dose.
Both the Moderna and Pfi zer vaccines
require two doses, given about 21
to 28 days apart. These inoculations help
the body fi ght the virus by teaching it to
create an immune response. According
to the Bushwick vaccine hub leader, all
sites are using the Moderna vaccine, as
it’s easier to store. The Pfi zer vaccine requires
Mayor Bill de Blasio on Monday advocated
for individuals to use the city’s
Vaccine Finder to discover if they are
eligible and where to locate a vaccination
hub nearest them.
“Vaccine Finder is a one-stop shop
where eligible New Yorkers can fi nd
the closest vaccine provider to them
and book an appointment with one
click of a button,” Hizzoner said. “That
means the COVID-19 will be safe, free,
and easy to get for all New Yorkers. If
you are eligible, please call 877-VAX-
4NYC or visit nyc.gov/VaccineFinder
to reserve your appointment today.”
Dr. James DiGiuseppi DC
8214-13th Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11228