With a vaccine rollout plan in place and the first doses of Pfizer and Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccines arriving in New York, Westchester has begun the lengthy processes of inoculating its population against the horrific virus.
“I’m hoping that this is the beginning of the end, and that’s exactly why I wanted to get the shot today,” says Respiratory Therapist Brian Benjamin of White Plains Hospital. Benjamin is one of five frontline workers to be vaccinated first at WPH, in a special event including hospital staff and White Plains Mayor Tom Roach.
“This is, as Brian said, the beginning of the end and it means a lot to me that the people getting the first shots are the people that did such important work during the crisis,” Mayor Roach says. “I’ll never forget it and the people of the city will never forget it.”
Other staff members at WPH to receive their first doses include Betsy Amayan, RN; Kristina Krecko, MD; and Sharia Mohammed, RN and Frank Quintero, MD, both from the Emergency Department.
“We are hoping that this vaccine represents the path to the end of the pandemic, so we are extremely excited,” adds WPH Chief Medical Officer Michael Palumbo, MD.
The hospital plans to continue its rollout of vaccinations to additional staff members over the coming weeks.
Elsewhere in the county, Shrub Oak resident and Emergency Department RN Donna Selwa-Selig became the first staff member at NewYork-Presbyterian Hudson Valley Hospital to receive the vaccination at the hospital’s Cortlandt Manor campus. Selwa-Selig, smiling beneath her surgical mask, posed for the camera with a sign reading “I got vaccinated for COVID-19 to protect my family and patients.”
At the same time in Bronxville, NYP Lawrence Hospital President Michael Fosina and Vice President of Patient Care Services & Chief Nursing Officer Laurie Walsh celebrated emergency LPN and former U.S. Air Force nurse Seth Pasternak as the first care team member to receive the vaccine.
“This is an exciting and historic moment for all of us, especially our amazing teams that have worked tirelessly on the front lines of this pandemic,” say Fosina and NewYork-Presbyterian Hudson Valley Hospital President Stacey Petrower in a joint statement. “The availability of a safe, effective vaccine is an essential step in turning the tide in our fight against COVID-19 and protecting the health of our communities. As we wait for vaccines to become more widely available, we urge all New Yorkers to continue to mask up, socially distance, and take all precautions so that we can fight this virus with every tool we have.”