Veronica Delgado, and Emergency Department (ED) Lead Physician Assistant, and William Kelly, a Service Aide in the Environmental Services Department, both workers at NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst, were among the first hospital workers of the City’s public health system to receive the COVID-19 vaccine that’s been authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
NYC Health + Hospitals began offering the COVID-19 vaccine to frontline health care workers in each of its 11 hospitals assigned to the Emergency Departments or Intensive Care United (ICUs) who are over the age of 60 and therefore at the highest risk for exposure to the virus, as per current guidelines. The public health system will expand vaccination to other employees and eventually patients in the next week and months to come.
“Just months ago, NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst was the epicenter of the crisis,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Now, with the arrival of the vaccine, hope is on the horizon at Elmhurst and hospitals across our city.”
NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is leading the vaccine roll-out plan citywide, and NYC Health + Hospitals is working closely with City partners to prepare. The public hospital system has built capacity with the appropriate storage mechanisms, developed plans for administering the vaccines internally to staff as a priority, and drafted standard operating procedures for the system to follow around vaccine distribution. Each of the 11 hospitals as part of the public health system have received vaccines and have the necessary storage capacity.
Next week, NYC Health + Hospitals will begin to vaccinate another important group of health care professionals in its system – the staff in its five long-term care facilities that provide care to some of the most vulnerable populations. The public hospital system will also begin to vaccinate all the residents in those nursing facilities, working with a trusted pharmacy partner under a Federal program to ensure that every employee and nursing home resident who wants the vaccine can get it.