EAST MEADOW, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — On Long Island, ramped-up COVID vaccine efforts are underway, including a new vaccination center.
This comes a day after Gov. Andrew Cuomo publicly criticized the Nassau University Medical Center for a stalled rollout, but the hospital says the governor has it wrong.
NUMC emergency room nurse Gabrielle Desir, of Baldwin, was the first at the hospital to receive the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine Tuesday.
“I feel good and safe to be taking care of the patients,” she said.
She took pictures to send to her proud family.
“A husband and two boys. They’re happy, emotional,” Desir said.
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NUMC is under fire from the governor for a slow rollout.
“We don’t mind the push to do more,” said NUMC president and CEO Dr. Anthony Boutin. “We are going to double what we did last week.”
Now, vaccination lines of NUMC hospital workers are forming.
“I’m not interested in blaming. I’m not interested in shaming,” Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said. “I’m interested in getting the vaccine distributed and administered.”
With that, the county opened its first vaccination Point of Distribution Center, or POD, at Nassau Community College.
“I feel, like, safer now, I do. I’m like, oh my god,” Nassau County health care worker Lorraine Parente-Maschino said.
This center is among a state network of providers, but those waiting say it’s not enough.
“It’s beyond difficult. I’m not really fond of Andrew Cuomo,” Nassau County dentist Dr. Ellen Sullivan said. “I don’t feel the procedure to sign up was easy at all.”
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“I know there have been issues with the state’s registration system due to high demand … This is unacceptable,” Curran said.
Eligible residents must sign up for a vaccine through the state website.
“Their legal obligation, their ethical obligation to say that they are who they are,” said Ann Desimone with the Nassau County Department of Health.
Homeland Security checks IDs and registrations.
“As we know, the state is calling the shots on who is eligible,” Curran said.
The county executive says expanding categories of eligible residents and ramped up doses from the state may soon mean hundreds of vaccinations a day will be broadened to thousands a day in Nassau.
Many still need convincing.
“I’m scared of getting COVID and scared of a vaccine that hasn’t been fully tested,” health care worker Paul Brozen said.
Still, Brozen rolled up his sleeve.
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