Dec 16, 2020
NYC Health + Hospitals today administered the first COVID-19 vaccines in its health system. Veronica Delgado, Emergency Department (ED) Lead Physician Assistant, and William Kelly, a Service Aide in the Environmental Services Department both at NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst, were among the first hospital workers as part of the City’s public health system to receive the vaccine that’s been authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Following appropriate guidance, NYC Health + Hospitals will begin to offer 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. 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.”
“Today, NYC Health + Hospitals is reaching an exciting and important milestone in the fight against the COVID-19 outbreak – being able to begin offering a COVID-19 vaccine to our brave healthcare workers,” said NYC Health + Hospitals President and CEO Mitchell Katz, MD. “In line with the mission of NYC Health + Hospitals, we are committed to ensuring there is fair and equitable access to the vaccine and will prioritize New York City’s most vulnerable and most at-risk for contracting the virus when we can begin wide scale roll-out later next year.”
NYC Health + Hospitals has been preparing extensively and working closely with City partners to prepare for the COVID-19 vaccine, including the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene that is helping to lead the vaccine roll-out plan citywide. 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.
Veronica Delgado, PA, has over a 30-year clinical and healthcare management background. In addition to a supervisory role of the PA staff, she is the Advanced Trauma Life Support coordinator for the hospital, SART examiner and EDIS administrator. William Kelly has been a dedicated employee of NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst since 1997. He was born in Queens and still resides in the borough.
The public can watch the historic event for NYC Health + Hospitals here.
Visit nychealthheroes.com, the public health system’s digital tribute to the fearless employees of NYC Health + Hospitals and learn more about their bravery during the COVID-19 pandemic.