- Gale Brewer - https://www.manhattanbp.nyc.gov -

A day in the life: BP Brewer visits vaccine sites

One aspect of the vaccine rollout that’s been kind of crazy is vaccine sites run by everyone from churches and community-based organizations to the City’s hospital system. I saw this first hand last Friday, 4/2 as I crisscrossed Manhattan visiting registration and vaccine sites.

First, I stopped by an appointment scheduling pop-up at Essex and Delancey Sts. Test and Trace staff were helping people book vaccine appointments, though encountering some difficulty since they were using smartphones instead of tablets. The closest vaccine site had no appointments, and many people were unwilling to sign up for appointments in other locations.

I visited the Gompers Community Center (80 Pitt St.), which had been busy in the morning but was quiet by the early afternoon. Run by Health + Hospitals and Test and Trace, the site administers the one-dose Johnson & Johnson shot and is doing about 100 shots per day. Open Thursday-Sunday through 5/23, from 9 am – 5 pm, it serves the NYCHA developments of Gompers, Baruch, Baruch Houses Addition, Bracetti Plaza, Campos Plaza II, First Houses, Hernandez, LES I Infill, LES II, LES III, LES Rehab (Group 5), Meltzer Tower, Riis I, Riis II, Stanton Street, and Wald. Call 332-240-3330 to make an appointment.

The New York State-run one-day site at United Palace Theater (4140 Broadway) was excellent. The State has worked out a great system: They give a certain number of slots to various community-based organizations and elected officials who then reach out to constituents to book appointments. This way, local residents get vaccinated and every vaccine is used. SOMOS administered the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at the site.

The Abyssinian Baptist Church [1] site (132 W. 138th St.) is also phenomenally well organized. Run by the NYC Office of Emergency Management, the site will operate Tuesday-Saturday, from 9 am – 5 pm. In just one day, they did close to 250 shots of the Pfizer vaccine, administered by Memorial Sloan Kettering.

I visited another NYCHA vaccine site at the St. Nicholas/Central Harlem Senior Center (210 W. 131st St.), operated by Health + Hospitals and Test and Trace. Because it was Good Friday, there weren’t many people registered for appointments. NYCHA was distributing flyers, though only in English. When I called NYCHA about needing to send multilingual flyers, I also told them they needed to post signs outside to let residents know it was a vaccine site. I suggested that NYCHA should include MAP (Mayor’s Action Plan for Neighborhood Safety), Harlem Children’s Zone, and other community-based organizations in appointment outreach efforts.

Open Thursday-Sunday, through 5/2, 8 am – 6 pm, the Central Harlem Senior Center site administers the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine and serves residents of Saint Nicholas, Drew-Hamilton, Grant, Lincoln, Manhattanville, Robinson, and Samuel (City). Call 332-240-3330 to make an appointment.

I ended the day visiting the pop-up site at JCC Harlem (318 W. 118th St.). They administered 350 vaccines, including almost 50 walk-ins. The JCC partnered with a Brooklyn-based pharmacist who has more doses than his small pharmacy has capacity to administer. Patients already have appointments to return three weeks later on 4/22 for their second dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

Recently, I stopped by the Vaccine Hub at City College [2] (1549 Amsterdam Ave.). It’s wonderfully run and operates Thursday, 11:30 am – 8 pm and Friday-Sunday, noon – 8:30 pm.

I visited the Johnson Community Center (1833 Lexington Ave.) site on Saturday, 3/27. Like the other NYCHA sites above, it’s operated by Health + Hospitals and Test and Trace and is administering the Johnson & Johnson one-dose shot. Too many residents don’t know about this site, so NYCHA must do more outreach, but I know all the NYCHA sites are continually improving.

The site is open Thursday-Sunday through 6/20, 8 am – 6 pm. It serves NYCHA residents of Johnson, 131 St. Nicholas Ave., Carver, Clinton, Corsi, East River, Jefferson, King Towers, Lehman Village, Lexington, Metro North Plaza, Morris Park Senior Citizens Home, Rehab Program (Taft Rehabs), Taft, UPACA (Sites 5 & 6), Wagner, Washington, White, and Wilson. Call 332-240-3330 to make an appointment.

I’m glad we have so many community vaccine sites, but one thing remains clear: We need a Manhattan-only mass vaccine site, like the other boroughs have for their residents. I’ve repeatedly asked the Governor and the Mayor for such a site. For that site, community-based organizations should be able to schedule appointments for people, and the site should also accept walk-ins.