Elmhurst becomes first NYS hospital to administer Covid-19 vaccine

Elmhurst becomes first NYS hospital to administer Covid-19 vaccine

Moses Kuwema 

Elmhurst Hospital in Queens on Wednesday morning became the first New York City public hospital to administer to its healthcare workers the Pfizer vaccine against the COVID-19.

At a ceremony witnessed by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Veronica Delgrado, a physician assistant and William Kelly, a service aid in the environmental services department, got their initial dose of the vaccine.

New York City commissioner of health Dr Dave Chokshi, who administered the vaccine to Delgrado, when asked about the side effects of the vaccine said no serious side effects have been reported so far since the vaccine was first administered in the city. 

"The most important thing is that we have not heard of any serious adverse effects or side effects of the vaccine in New York City thus far. 

"We are in contact with our colleagues at the CDC as well as our health departments around the country to make sure we are understanding what they are seeing as well.

"No serious adverse events have been reported," he said. 

"The side effects that were already experienced are the ones that we have also seen for the study of the medicine particularly some pain at the injecting side, some fatigue, some muscle aches, generally those only last for the first 24 to 48 hours and are mostly mild side effects," said Dr Chokshi.
 
Mayor de Blasio said the city recorded 195 new hospilizations on Wednesday and 2,785 new COVID-19 cases.

"The hospitalization has consistently surged so again another example why we do have a problem with these increasing hospitalizations and we have to fight back against this. 

"Positivity for the seven-day average stands at 5.71 percent. That is higher than we want it to be. The positivity level is too high and it's not going in the right direction. This is your reminder to get tested, wear a mask, and avoid travel this holiday," said Mayor de Blasio.

Dr Mitch Katz, head of Health + Hospital said the health facility has about a third of beds available in both the ICU and the regular beds.

"We are in reasonable shape. All the 11 hospitals today have about 280 people with COVID-19. We got almost 4,000 last April, so 280 still does strain the system. We haven't seen a huge drop in non-COVID patients that we saw in March and April which we are happy about," he said.

"We realized that people that were seriously sick stayed away from all hospitals in March and April. All the New York City hospitals experienced a huge drop that hasn't happened now and so we have to watch capacity closely. 

"We have been able to bring in additional nurses starting on Monday and we believe we will be able to keep up with the increase in COVID cases that the mayor has spoken about," said Dr Katz. 

Meanwhile, speaking at a briefing Wednesday, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo said the state was doing much better in terms of COVID-19 cases as compared to other states across the nation.

Governor Cuomo however, said the reductions in COVID-19 cases was largely dependent on how New Yorkers conduct themselves during the upcoming holidays.

"Shutdowns are very possible in January. We have already seen other states closing down because of numbers going up. As for New York, it all depends with what you are going to do in the next three weeks and I will tell you what will happen. New Yorkers can stop the shutdowns through personal responsibilities. Local government do your job and enforce the regulations. Healthy holiday season should be done. 

"The COVID numbers are a reflection of what we do. If New Yorkers are careful, celebrate smart during this holiday, the numbers will come down. New Yorkers are capable of getting us to the point where there will be no shutdown," said Governor Cuomo. 

And Governor Cuomo said crisis hospital management would have to be applied when the COVID-19 cases go up.

"Hospitals need to share the burden when one hospital gets overwhelmed. Hospital managers should know that this is serious. We learned lessons from the spring," he said. 

Governor Cuomo said the State would set up regional vaccination hubs which will be run by medical professionals with state guidelines. 
"We have designated the vaccination coordinators. 

They will be administering the vaccination. They will work with the city government, county officials. They will come up with a plan that meets that region. They will put up their plans first week of January.

"Phase two allocation might be expected end of January. We want to be the first COVID free state. In New York State, no person will have to pay a penny for vaccination," concluded Governor Cuomo.