Mayor de Blasio Visits Ezra Medical Center, after Joining Effort to Vaccinate Holocaust Survivors
By Yehudit Garmaise
As part of his ongoing tour of vaccination sites around the city, today Mayor Bill de Blasio popped into Ezra Medical Center, which is located at 1278 60th St, to speak with Holocaust survivors who were getting their shots this morning.
Among those who were getting vaccinated with whom the mayor spoke during his half an hour visit were a 97-year-old survivor of Auschwitz and an 86- year-old survivor of the Ukraine’s labor camps during the war.
The mayor was made aware of a need for the vaccination process to be streamlined for Holocaust survivors after he had invited to Gracie Mansion a group of Orthodox Jewish, who provided what the mayor described the next morning at his daily press conference as “a very moving discussion.
“The most pointed part of the discussion revolved around seniors [who are Holocaust survivors], who literally experienced one of the most horrific events in world history,” the mayor told reporters on Feb. 10.
Ever since becoming eligible to get vaccinated in January, many senior citizens in New York City have found it difficult to register online, make appointments, and navigate crowds at mass vaccination sites.
Feeling that the city’s Holocaust survivors need extra help, care, and concern as they navigate a sometimes-frustrating process of getting vaccinated, the United Jewish Appeal (UJA) Federation of New York spearheaded an effort to make things easier, faster, and more pleasant for them.
Since January, the UJA has teamed with the Boro Park Jewish Community Council (BPJCC), the Boro Park Y, Ezra Medical Center, and other organizations to provide round-trip transportation and extra care and concern at Ezra Medical Center, a local vaccination site that has been vaccinating Holocaust survivors with Moderna shots. Yesterday, however, the City of New York worked with the UJA to provide additional one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccines at a special, one-day pop-up vaccination site at Ezra Medical Center, to further prioritize Holocaust survivors and isolated seniors.
“There there's definitely still issues of hesitancy around the vaccine, but there's also a lot of seniors who desperately want the vaccine, and we need to reach them,” Mayor de Blasio said.
The mayor described his participation to assist and help vaccinate the city’s many Holocaust survivors “as a special effort to reach these New Yorkers who have been through so much, but who still, by their very perseverance, give us so much hope.”
The Blue Card and Heritage Levavot have also joined in the community’s considerable chesed efforts by providing Holocaust survivors who are with monthly, delicious Shabbos meals. Vaccinated Holocaust survivors can sign up with the BPJCC at http://bit.ly/HSRCSM for the Shabbos food program.