The thin blue jab: NYPD Medical Staff administer COVID Vax to hard-hit New Yorkers

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Chief of Personnel Martin Morales announced that 127 Pennsylvania Avenue opened as a vaccination site on March 11 and will run until the end of May.
Photo by Dean Moses

Members of NYPD’s medical staff launched their very own temporary vaccination site in hopes of incarcerating the COVID-19 virus from the neighborhood. 

Brooklyn’s Canarsie, Brownsville, and Bushwick have endured some of the highest rates of infections within the borough. In an effort to provide vaccine equity to these local communities, NYPD has officially opened a pop-up vaccination hub within the New York City Police Department Community Center located on 127 Pennsylvania Avenue, where medically trained officers are administering doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

On March 17, NYPD officials hosted a press conference at this community center to discuss their latest endeavor in public protection. Since the early dispersals of the COVID-19 vaccinations, NYPD’s medical staff shared that they have helped administer vaccinations to over 17,000 officers, 700 members of the Auxiliary police, 700 doses to other agencies, and 5,000 retired members—now they are turning the needle on civilians.   

“I am very proud of our medical division efforts, as they have proven to be an invaluable tool during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Chief of Personnel Martin Morales said during the conference.

Chief of Community Affairs Jeffrey B. Maddrey spoke at the temporary vaccination site run by NYPD medical staff. Photo by Dean Moses

In addition to vaccinating those within the blue line, NYPD medical personnel say they have helped facilitate doses to 1300 seniors in NYCHA housing within Manhattan. Overall, the medical division has administered 42,000 vaccinations.

This new vaccination hub will be in operation until the end of May and will run Monday through Friday from 6 am to 2 pm, with NYPD medically trained personnel ready to dispense the single-dose shot of Johnson & Johnson.  As of March 11, officers have vaccinated 3,000 people and have a goal of vaccinating approximately 40,000 by May’s end.  

“I am confident that the NYPD vaccination efforts together with this community vaccination center will play a vital role in this in the city’s recovery. The combination of getting vaccinated and following CDC guidelines to protect yourself and others will offer the best protection from COVID-19,” Morales said.

Inspector Gazis shared that initially, the medical division did not have enough personnel to provide a fully functioning vaccination site, but as he reached out to patrol units, together they were able to enlist officers who met the medical qualifications to disseminate the life-saving drug. At the hub, there are doctors, NYPD medical surgeons, civilian RNs, officers who are also RNs, and paramedic officers.

Inspector Gazis introduced two officers who are working at the facility that met these requirements, Officer Grant who has a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and Officer Javorovac, who worked as a paramedic for almost seven years.

Inspector Gazis was impressed with the vaccination site. Photo by Dean Moses

“I am glad to lend a helping hand to my fellow colleagues and help vaccinated the public,” Javorovac said.

Originally the site was created in 2019 as a community center that invited residents and officers to engage in various programs together. In light of the pandemic, the NYPD decided to utilize the space to help locals have access to the vaccine.

“This vaccine is very important to our community, it’s important to this city. It’s important everywhere.  What better place to bring it right in the heart of East New York, right next store to Brownsville and Bushwick to communities who really truly need a place to get this vaccine,” said Chief of Community Affairs Jeffrey B. Maddrey.

Maddrey believes that Medical Division’s efforts in administering the vaccine is a pivotal example of building the bridge between the community and the police department. Even on that very morning, a long line of individuals trailed down the curb, waiting to receive the single-dose vaccine.

“We are stepping outside of the traditional lines of policing and this right here you can’t step out anymore. You have officers, medically trained, who are providing resources to this community and getting a much-needed vaccine to them,” Maddrey said.

The New York Police Department’s community center at 127 Pennsylvania Avenue is now a temporary vaccination site. Photo by Dean Moses