I read with interest the letter by a retired pediatrician describing his difficulty trying to volunteer to give COVID-19 vaccinations ["Jumping hurdles to give vaccine shots," Jan. 13]. I am a nurse practitioner with 30 years of experience working as a public health nurse for the Suffolk County Department of Health Services, for which I developed and ran the immunization program. I retired from the county four years ago and have continued to maintain my license and work in private practice. I am also an adjunct clinical assistant professor at Stony Brook University School of Nursing. After submitting my application for the Medical Reserve Corps, I, too, was told that the wait was up to six weeks for a "background check" by the Nassau County Police Department. For the federal Trusted Traveler Program, it took only two days for my background check, and I hold an enhanced state driver’s license. Why does it take the NCPD up to six weeks when the federal government can do the same thing in two days? This is a national emergency and there has to be a better system to approve applications to volunteer to assist with defeating this pandemic.
Editor’s note: The writer is a nurse consultant for the Immunization Action Coalition and is on the executive board of Vaccinate Your Family.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s decision to open up vaccine distribution to state residents 65 and older is a stab in the back to those over 75 ["Vaccine eligibility grows," News, Jan. 13]. An estimated 1.1 million people are over 75, and 2.2 million aged 65 to 75. In my view, opening the program to the 65-plus crowd has slammed the door on the more vulnerable 75-plus elders who now cannot get an appointment. His rush to make this decision based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention action, with limited doses available now and for the foreseeable future, has placed an unfair burden on us. Cuomo should immediately rescind this change and order providers and state-run facilities to prioritize vaccinations to the elderly. Appointments made by those 65-plus should be pushed back 45-60 days at a minimum to allow elders to get appointments and not have to wait until May or later to receive their vaccine. The governor should have learned from the nursing home debacle that elders are the most vulnerable and need access to the vaccine now. His many messages that elders need to be cared for can only be corrected by doing what’s right for the elders.
Once again New Yorkers are experiencing a nightmare. This time it is to secure an appointment to get the COVID-19 vaccine. We are told to "go online to register," and those words alone are enough to make you grab the aspirin and antacids. Most of the websites will not function and are anything but user-friendly. Trying to place a call will produce a busy signal or a recording that they are not taking calls and refer you the aforementioned websites. We are being told the system is overwhelmed. Funny, those were the same words that were used when people attempted to apply for unemployment insurance in March. Do you think the state could have learned from that nightmare and be better prepared? They knew this tidal wave was coming months ago. Most of our out-of-touch representatives who never missed a paycheck during this pandemic have failed us once again. They won’t have to go online and experience the real world. They’re at the ready, arms out, to be vaccinated along with staff. They have deemed themselves "essential." My question is: "Essential" to whom?
My wife and I are both in our 70s. She is a cancer survivor and a retired cardiac nurse with over 40 years experience and a master’s degree. I also have a master’s degree, in business. I want to thank Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo for his insightful TV appearances sitting with two monitors as he looked both left and right with his bullet points appearing on his left side ["Feds, state faulted over rollout of vaccine," News, Jan. 17]. Very impressive, governor. It’s about a month that the COVID-19 vaccine has been available to the world. We have been trying to get information from both New York State authorities and Suffolk County. All to no avail. It seems that the Cuomo administration does three things. It’s all about rhetoric — if it sounds good, it must be good. Blame others for his lack of leadership. And show his incompetence during these trying times. There is an old saying that I believe fits him perfectly: "All show and no go."
Two sites deserved to be in ‘LI quiz’
I enjoyed "The LI quiz" but was surprised by two omissions. The Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City is a superior attraction that traces Long Island’s rich aviation history. One can see a real lunar module up close and view more than 75 other air and space craft. The Long Island Aquarium in Riverhead, with many strange and beautiful sea creatures, is a fun place to visit. You can even pet a stingray. We certainly live in a great place with lots to do and see within a short drive.