I got the first COVID-19 vaccine on Roosevelt Island

I got the first COVID-19 vaccine on Roosevelt Island

I’m not usually the story, but today, I am because I got the first COVID-19 vaccine on Roosevelt Island.

By David Stone

Roosevelt Island Daily News

When super volunteer, the endlessly helpful Wendy Hersh let us all know that vaccines were on the way to Roosevelt Island, I ignored last Sunday’s snowstorm and headed for Duane Reade.

The store is part of the Walgreens chain but retains its local, iconic name. So, any credit here belongs to Walgreens, an unfamiliar name on Roosevelt Island, and its terrific pharmacy team.

The flu shot bandage Christine Hui pressed over my shot is a reminder of the team’s experience at administering vaccines.

Putting it together fast…

Walgreens acted fast after learning enough supplies were on the way for bringing inventory to Roosevelt Island.

I got the first COVID-19 vaccine on Roosevelt Island because the chain is so efficient and because Wendy Hersh is almost impossibly on top of everything important.

But I wasn’t the first to show up. The pharmacy’s clipboard had at least a half-dozen names ahead of mine. Or the last. A friend trooped down with ten others on Monday morning to sign up. She got her shot, just an hour after me.

More importantly, I spotted an instruction sheet for signing up online, and a pharmacist handed me a copy, promising that signing up online as well as in person was not a problem. The website went active on Tuesday.

Because I get out of bed just after bar closing time, I tried signing up around 4:00 a.m., without success, but kept trying. Just after seven, available appointments popped up, and I grabbed the first one.

At 8:25 a.m., Feb. 12th, 2021, I got the first COVID-19 vaccine on Roosevelt Island…

My appointment was for 8:15, but being the first, my shot helped get some early kinks out. There was a small computer glitch, and the pharmacy had to set up a privacy screen and some chairs. And there’s always the paperwork, CDC requirements and receipts…

But soon, there I was, seated with my sleeve rolled up, and head pharmacist Christine Hui, in seconds, swabbed my arm and injected the needle. I hate needles, by the way, but this was barely noticeable. And Christine, like the rest of her staff, was patient and helpful.

By 8:30, I was wandering the store because Christine asked me to hang around for fifteen minutes, making sure I didn’t have any reactions.

I didn’t, not then and not since.

The waiting line for vaccines backed up only a little…

Because vaccine news has been around for a while, you might not be aware that this made me and my neighbors following among the first 10% getting shots in America. Only 3% have gotten second doses, and we can join that groundbreaking crowd as early as March.

Many of us were impatient about getting the COVID-19 vaccine here, but in fact, Roosevelt Islanders are ahead of the pack again.

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