UNIONDALE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Coronavirus hospitalizations are dropping on Long Island while increased shipments of vaccines are arriving, and a push is underway in communities of color to boost confidence in the shot.

Appreciation for NYU Langone health care workers who received Long Island’s very first confirmed COVID-19 patient one year ago.

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The father from Uniondale recovered and made it home, but the battle here rages on.

“I’m a nursing student, and it’s so hard to find where to get the vaccine,” one woman told CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan.

“It’s hard to get an appointment. Everybody’s looking for it,” one man said.

“I don’t know where to go, but I know that I am trying to get it through my job,” another woman said.


In underserved communities, there are distinct barriers.

“Trying to get themselves registered, many of them do not have a computer … We have many elderly people in our area who cannot get out as well,” Hempstead Councilwoman Dorothy Goosby said.

Churches and pharmacies are opening their doors, and Memorial Sloan Kettering in Uniondale is offering pop-up appointments in partnership with the county.

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“Unfortunately, we also have glaring health disparities, and we are focused on targeting those and closing the gap, making access equal and easy for everybody,” Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said.

Yet some will need convincing.

Some minority groups have strong historical reasons to view health authorities with suspicion; past dangerous and racist health policies, like the U.S. Tuskegee syphilis experiment, understandably create skepticism.

“Knowledge is power … Once you explain to them what’s going on on a scientific level, on a real level, we think that they will be very enthusiastic about getting the vaccine,” said Dr. Carol Brown, with Memorial Sloan Kettering.


That outreach is underway.

“I still not put it in, but maybe I wait,” one man said.

“I think most people want to get it,” another man said.

The county’s supplies are increasing, saying optimism is around the corner.

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The Memorial Sloan Kettering pop-up sites on Long Island open Thursday and will be providing the Moderna vaccine.

Jennifer McLogan