More Details on Lehman College’s Vaccination Site as CDC Recommends Lifting J&J Pause

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Lehman College’s APEX Athletic Center
Image courtesy of Lehman College

The closure of the Bronx High School of Science mass vaccination site, effective April 15, was a blow to local seniors in the Bronx Community Board 7 district and beyond, as reported last week by Norwood News. A new COVID-19 vaccination site opened at Lehman College on Wednesday, April 14, though details of the new site had initially been scant. Happily, further information has since become available.

 

On Saturday, April 17, Bronx BP Ruben Diaz Jr. confirmed that the following Bronx sites, including Lehman College, would be vaccinating New Yorkers aged 50 and older, without an appointment:

  • Bronx Co-Op City Dreiser Community Center
  • Northeast Bronx YMCA (Edenwald)
  • South Bronx Educational Campus
  • West Bronx Gymnasium
  • Lehman College – Apex Center
  • Bathgate Contract Postal Station

 

On the same day, representatives from the City administration confirmed that walk-up COVID-19 vaccinations for New Yorkers aged 50 years and older are now available at all City-run vaccine sites: nyc.gov/vcc.

 

On Tuesday, April 20, Lehman College, CUNY formally announced that it has partnered with The City of New York to launch the Bronx’s newest COVID-19 vaccination hub which is located at the college’s APEX Athletic Center at 250 Bedford Park Boulevard West in the borough’s Kingsbridge Heights neighborhood. In the context of the announcement, Lehman College President Daniel Lemons said, “As a trusted community partner, Lehman College is proud to host a vaccine site and do our part in the fight against COVID-19.”

 

According to City officials, the site is being run by SOMOS Community Care, a network of community physicians based in the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan, and by the week ending Sunday, April 25, up to 300 people a day will be able to receive a Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at the Lehman College hub. When contacted by phone last week, a representative from SOMOS had told the Norwood News that SOMOS was not running the site but it seems finally that it is, in fact, doing so.

 

Meanwhile, Lehman College representatives confirmed that the site is open to New Yorkers aged 16 or older, as well as to non-New York City residents aged 16 or older who work or study in the city. They reiterated the borough president’s message that eligible individuals aged 50 and over may walk-in without making an appointment, as long as they’re able to show proof of age.

 

 

However, those aged 49 and under will not be seen without an appointment. Prospective attendees should visit the New York City Department of Health website for more details in this regard. To schedule a vaccine appointment, visit https://vaccinefinder.nyc.gov/locations/664 or call (877) 829-4692.

 

Longstanding health and economic disparities have left many communities of color vulnerable to COVID-19, particularly in the Bronx, where predominantly Latinx and Black neighborhoods have reported some of the highest positivity rates in the city.

 

In an effort to encourage the Lehman and broader Bronx communities to learn about the benefits of receiving the vaccine, while also dispelling COVID-19 vaccine myths that are circulating online, the college debuted the #LehmanGetstheVax educational campaign in February 2021. As reported by Norwood News, a panel discussion was held at that time which featured Sandra Lindsay, a nurse, Lehman alumna, and the first person in the U.S. to take the COVID-19 vaccine in a non-trial setting,  

 

On Friday, April 23, at 6 p.m., Lehman College hosted a further panel discussion on the vaccines’ benefits and the impact of COVID-19 on communities of color in the Bronx. The discussion incorporated students’ perspectives and was moderated by Jermaine Wright, vice president for Student Affairs.

 

Meanwhile, vice president of administration and finance at the college, Rene Rotolo said the vaccine hub launch at the 37-acre campus is just another way for Lehman, a longtime, Bronx anchor institution, to support the community it serves. “In April of last year, we worked with New York State to begin hosting a COVID-19 testing site, which is still in operation in our faculty parking lot,” Rotolo said. “Of course, when the opportunity to be a vaccine hub arose too, we jumped at the chance to partner with The City of New York.”

 

On April 23, the City confirmed that New Yorkers aged 16+ can now get their COVID-19 vaccine without an appointment at select sites across NYC: http://on.nyc.gov/walkupvax.

 

On the same day, a CDC vaccine advisory committee recommended that the nationwide pause on the use of Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus vaccine should be lifted following the completion of a recent investigation, as reported by The Hill.

 

The CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted 10-4 with one abstention, that the vaccine’s benefits outweigh the risks, and that it will save lives, according to The Hill story.

 

COVID-19 vaccination rates per borough. Source: NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene

 

The Hill also reported that the panel did not specifically ask for a warning label to be added to the vaccine, but recommended that the FDA add a label intended to make providers aware of the risk of a rare complication involving blood clots in women under the age of 50.

 

The administration of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was paused on April 13, pending an investigation, following reports of blood clots identified in six American women. On Wednesday, April 14, NBC News reported that Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and head of the White House coronavirus task force, said the Johnson & Johnson vaccine pause would last days, not months. Almost 7 million Americans have received the Johnson & Johnson shot so far.

 

New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker issued a statement the same day, saying New York State had followed the CDC recommendation and paused the use of the J&J vaccine statewide with effect from April 13. No further announcements have yet been issued by New York State Department of Health regarding the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, further to the publication of the CDC’s recommendations on Friday, April 23.

 

Norwood News recently reported how City data showed that The Bronx had the lowest COVID-19 vaccination rate of all five boroughs at 35 percent, a point highlighted by Michelle Avila, chair of Bronx Community Board 7’s health committee during the board’s April 22 executive meeting.

 

COVID-19 infection overview for ZIP code 10467.
Source: New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene.

 

As of April 23, The Bronx’s vaccination rate has improved slightly and now stands at 41 percent, though it still trails the other four boroughs. Manhattan’s rate stands at 50 percent, Brooklyn’s at 45 percent, Queens’ at 52 percent and Staten Island’s at 49 percent.

 

More locally, in ZIP code 10467, covering Norwood, Allerton, Pelham Parkway and Williamsbridge, 27 percent of residents are now fully vaccinated, up from 21 percent as of April 12. Meanwhile, 39 percent have had at least one dose. In ZIP code 10458, which covers Belmont, Fordham University and Kingsbridge, 24 percent of residents are now fully vaccinated, up from 18 percent as of April 12. Meanwhile, 37 percent have had at least one dose.

 

In Zip code 10468, which covers Fordham, Kingsbridge and University Heights, 26 percent of residents are now fully vaccinated, up from 20 percent as of April 12. Meanwhile, 38 percent have had at least one dose. In ZIP code 10453, which covers Morris Heights, Mount Hope and University Heights, 25 percent of residents are now fully vaccinated and 38 percent have had at least one dose.

 

In terms of infections, the attached charts give an overview of the general trends in COVD rates in the local area.

 

COVID-19 infection overview for ZIP code 10468.
Source: New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene.

 

COVID-19 Vaccinations

Appointments are required to receive a vaccination. To determine your eligibility, access a list of nearby providers, and schedule your vaccination appointment, use New York State’s Am I Eligible app. Prior to receiving your scheduled vaccination, you must complete the New York State COVID-19 Vaccine Form. Please be patient and continue to monitor these links frequently for available vaccine appointments:

New York City: https://vaccinefinder.nyc.gov/ or 877-VAX-4NYC (877-829-4692)

New York State: https://am-i-eligible.covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov/ or call 1-833-NYS-4-VAX (1-833-697-4829)

VaccineTogetherNY: https://vaccinetogetherny.org/Pages/default.aspx or call 646-697-VACC

To schedule an appointment, go to: https://vax4nyc.nyc.gov/patient/s/.

To find a vaccination site, go to: https://vaccinefinder.nyc.gov/locations.

Your physician or local pharmacy may also have information on scheduling vaccine appointments.

 

COVID-19 infection overview for ZIP code 10453.
Source: New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene.

 

If you need transportation to get your vaccine appointment, click this link for a list of options: https://forms.ny.gov/s3/vaccine.

 

For trustworthy information on the vaccines and the research behind them, go to: https://www1.nyc.gov/site/doh/covid/covid-19-vaccine-facts.page.

 

The MTA announced that it has launched a new vaccination site locator on its live subway map. See the map here:

https://map.mta.info/#@40.70949,-73.97853,14z.

 

COVID-19 infection overview for ZIP code 10458.
Source: New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene.

 

More Help with Scheduling Vaccine Appointments

Epicenter-NYC is a volunteer group, assisting New Yorkers to find and schedule vaccine appointments, particularly the elderly, and anyone not adept at using the internet. More details can be found here:

https://epicenter-nyc.com/epicenters-vaccine-resources/ or my emailing hello@epicenter-nyc.com.

 

The turbovax site, https://www.turbovax.info/, scans the websites of all providers offering the vaccine throughout the city and lists their available appointments.

 

Another volunteer group who go by the Twitter handle @VaccineschedNYC and Instagram handle @VaccineSchedulerNYC are also helping vulnerable populations like seniors and non-native English speakers to book vaccine appointments. For questions, contact VaccineSchedulerNYC@gmail.com or phone/text: 646-494-7029.

 

Bronx Rising Initiative, a nonprofit launched in 2020, has launched a homebound vaccine initiative to help inoculate Bronx seniors where they live, in partnership with local community organizations which are already serving homebound seniors. Residents can sign-up at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/getvaccinated.

 

COVID-19 Testing Sites

For a full list of COVID-19 testing sites, text “COVID TEST” to 855-48 or go to:

https://www1.nyc.gov/site/coronavirus/get-tested/covid-19-testing.page.

 

 





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