A line of essential workers and first responders from over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic wrapped around 44 Sherman Avenue in Inwood in order to receive the Moderna vaccine on Thursday.
On Jan. 7, approximately 400 doctors from SOMOS Community Care, a physician-led network of doctors who work within low-income areas and communities of color, are receiving the coronavirus vaccine and urging others to also trust in the inoculation process.
SOMOS community network of doctors have been on the frontline of the battle against the novel coronavirus since March, and have worked to provide COVID-19 testing for over 500,000 New Yorkers in communities of color and in over 400 NYC Public Schools.
The feeling in Inwood on January 7th was that of triumph and hope as doctors of SOMOS were all smiles. Those present realized they are now reaching a turning point in the fight against the global pandemic thanks to the commencement of wider vaccine distributions. By immunizing the over 2,500 SOMOS doctors, this will allow the physicians to help distribute the inoculation to the communities they work in when the vaccination becomes available for the general public.
Dr. Ramon Tallaj, physician and chairman of SOMOS US, says that his medical personnel are trusted in their multicultural communities since they speak they are bilingual and know their patients well. From the beginning of the pandemic, SOMOS has worked to test, educate, and is now preparing efforts toward vast vaccine distribution.
“Our work is prevention,” Tallaj said, “Now is the time to do what we do best, which is prevention, and prevention means vaccination. We are prepared to do at least 40,000 patients a day if we get the supplies.”
An Internal Medicine Specialist in Washington Heights by the name of Dr. Yomaris Pena was the first to receive the vacation that afternoon.
“I’m really happy to join you today with this amazing, wonderful group of doctors. People have been calling them and us heroes. We’re not heroes, we’re just doing our job. This is what we signed up to do since the beginning. We are doing it with compassion. That is what a primary care doctor in the community from SOMOS network does on a daily basis,” Pena said proudly, acknowledging the work they have done within communities of color and immigrants.
Pena also added: “We are the gatekeeper of the healthcare system, and we take care of our community. We need to vaccinate our providers.”
Pena also attempted to dispel any reservations against receiving the vaccination by urging individuals to trust in the science that has vetted these vaccinations. The physician likewise warned the public to ignore baseless rumors. “This is what we have today, all of this technology. All of this advancement for us, for our health,” Pena said.
US Vice Chair Henry Munoz and co-founder of SOMOS, coordinated the testing sites throughout New York City and believes they are responsible for both creating confidence and educating individuals in regards to the tracing of the coronavirus through testing and, now, vaccine dispersal.
“Today we’re standing here with a great deal of experience, understanding that what is most important is to get these vaccines out of freezers and into the arms of the most vulnerable people in this community,” Munoz said
Physicians from all over the New York area came together to celebrate this moment which represents another step forward in securing the safety of those who have been hardest hit by the pandemic.