Photo" Stephanie Mechamkin
Neighbors

Our senior neighbors share their vaccine stories

As part of Epicenter-NYC’s ongoing vaccine coverage, our writer Jade Stepeney spoke with seniors across Queens regarding their experiences.

Photo” Stephanie Mechamkin

On the same day Stephanie Nechamkin got her Covid vaccine, her husband died.

Bronx-born and Queens-bred, Nechamkin is 70 years old. Her husband had dementia and she lived in fear of getting him sick. “There was no question,” she said. “I knew if I got it and he got it, it would be worse for him.”

She got her first dose at 12:30 p.m., got home by 2:30. At 3:30, he passed. She was able to be with him.

“I loved him a lot. He was an art therapist. I’m surrounded by his work and his presence.”

Her life advice: “I know that we’re going to get through this. If you can Zoom, do it. There is support out there.” 

Husband and wife, Boris and Bronislava German, 84, were prompted to get the vaccine after a resident in their building became infected with Covid-19. Bronislava spoke on behalf of both. Their caseworker, Anna Boyer, translated for her.

 But how was their experience?

“Perfect,” Bronislava said.

The Germans’ children booked the appointments for their parents online. “We don’t visit them because of [the virus],” she said. “But as soon as they saw open spots, they scheduled the appointments.”

Boris and Bronislava went to Statcare Urgent & Walk-In Medical Care in Jackson Heights. Although they arrived at their appointment an hour early, medical staff told them to come back at their scheduled time common among most vaccination sites. Otherwise, the process was painless.

If you (or your parents or grandparents) are hesitant about getting vaccinated, here are some words of encouragement from Bronislava: 

“My niece, who is 38-years-old, had Covid,” she said. “I would tell people not to be afraid.”

Their life advice: “Be active, exercise.”  

Lie Seng, 71, was vaccinated at NYU Langone Health, the same hospital where he had a lung transplant. “[My doctor] checks on me every month,” he said. “So it was easy to make an appointment,” 

The hospital emailed Lie the scheduling information and his home aid took it from there, accompanying him when it was time for the first shot.

When it came down to the process of navigating the vaccination site,

“It was easy!” Lie said. “That’s what’s so good about NYU. They even had translators there for Spanish [speakers].” 

Aside from his home aid, Lie has the support of his children who also live in NYC. His son has been in the army for 13 years, and his daughter is a nurse. “[I can’t] see them,” he said. “So it’s good that we can video call.” 

His advice: “Go to school and get a good education.”

 

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