NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — In New York and across the country, musicians are now becoming part of the COVID vaccination process.

The music is helping to ease the nerves of people getting their shots, and for many of the musicians, it’s their first live performance in more than a year.

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For most of us, life’s milestones are marked by a soundtrack. That’s why performances are popping up at vaccination sites across the country.

Whether it’s Yo-Yo Ma in Massachusetts or Richmond Philharmonic players in Virginia, it seems clear there’s medicine in music.

“It was actually really great to come out of a really tense, you know, environment … to hear the music,” vaccine recipient Maggie Malina said. “When I sat down, they were playing ‘God Only Knows Where I’d Be Without You,’ Beach Boys. So, it was a nice feeling.”


In New York City, the Jacob Javits Convention Center‘s sprawling campus has transformed into the country’s largest vaccination site, vaccinating 14,000 people daily.

“I mean, this represents freedom,” Javits CEO Alan Steel said. “They don’t lose their mask, but what they do is they lose some of their inhibitions about the future.”

While there’s understandable anxiety, the music offers a relaxing remedy for patients.

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“We’ve noticed that there’s a direct correlation between decreased levels of anxiety and calming people’s nerves when the music is present,” Dr. Azmatullah Hussaini said.

It’s also a place for artists to finally perform.


Opera singer Camille Zamora is co-founder of Sing For Hope, a nonprofit that’s hiring musicians to play the vaccine center.

“I have artists every day looking at me and saying, ‘You have brought me back my first gig for the last year,'” she said.

For many, it’s the first crowd they’ve seen in over a year.

“It feels like water in the desert. You know, it just feels like what we’ve been missing,” Zamora said. “It’s the cheapest, oldest medication that we have. It’s music.”

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CBS News’ Vladimir Duthiers contributed to this report.

CBSNewYork Team