Dear Neighbor,

Here we go (again) with some new vaccine guidance: The Biden administration is set to announce that the majority of Americans should get a Covid-19 booster vaccination eight months after they received their second shot of Pfizer or Moderna to bolster protection against the Delta variant. Those who received Johnson & Johnson will likely require a booster shot as well, but the administration is waiting on the company to share the results of its two-dose clinical trial, expected in the next couple weeks. Need a vaccine? Fill this out. We’re in the process of updating our intake forms to reflect the latest guidance on boosters. Please be patient and reach out via email if you have any questions. We are also happy to connect you to doctors, medical professionals, clergy, ride shares or anyone else you need right now.


Additionally, starting today, New York City will be implementing its “Key to NYC” vaccine mandate, under which New Yorkers will have to show proof of vaccination in order to go into restaurants, entertainment venues and gyms. Employees of those businesses will need to be vaccinated as well. Around 56% of New York City residents are fully vaccinated, and 63% of NYC’s population has gotten at least one dose, but 37% of the population remains unvaccinated. The new mandate, which will be enforced beginning on Sept. 13, is likely to increase the number of New Yorkers getting vaccinated.

Epicenter-NYC reporter Andrea Pineda-Salgado spoke with people who were waiting to receive their first and second vaccinations this past week to find out, why now?

“I was scared about the injection, basically that’s why [I waited]. I’m allergic to a lot of things like eggs and other things, so I need to make sure that if I get the vaccine it’s not gonna be [a] problem for me. I just made sure with my primary physician and he told me that I can get the vaccine. Covid stopped our normal life, so [if] we get vaccinated it is a new start, new hope and just—get it.”

Bayazid Ahmed, 28, Jamaica, Queens

“I don’t want to sound mean, but I didn’t want to be the guinea pig, so I was waiting first to see how it goes. Also there was a lot of controversy with the other vaccines, like the results that people were having, what they were feeling, so I was just waiting to see. I do have asthma so I wanted to first make sure my health was good, how were people reacting to the vaccine to be sure that I wanted to get it. Everybody is already walking without masks and people are feeling like everything is done, but I feel like — hearing the news I think [Covid] is going up again so I would rather go get vaccinated. Also, I have kids at home, the little ones that can’t get vaccinated yet, so I want to be secure for them, and for my health as well.”

Elizabeth, late 30s, Corona, Queens

Photo of Tara D. by Andrea Pineda-Salgado for Epicenter-NYC

“The reason why I got vaccinated was because I care about my family and I love them and I needed to be vaccinated in order to be around them. Secondly, I was informed by my dad ‘you got to get vaccinated or you can’t come to my house,’ so that’s the real reason why I got vaccinated and in addition to that I was mandated by my job. Honestly speaking I wanted to see the results from everyone else, things that I heard in the media of anyone getting ill, really ill, because I have a weak system so everything makes me sick so I had to really ready myself up internally and spiritually in order to really do this. I was really nervous about it but I attacked it today and I did it and I feel great.”

—Tara D. 50, East New York, Brooklyn

Photo of Barbara Newkirk by Andrea Pineda-Salgado for Epicenter-NYC

“I was waiting for a while to see how everything was reacting with everybody. It was a little confusing at first, it wasn’t like a discouragement, it was just confusing, so I wanted to wait till I could see everything clearly so that I could know what was going to be happening, and how everyone was reacting to the shots and stuff.”

—Barbara Newkirk, 59, Canarsie, Brooklyn

“I didn’t really have time [to get vaccinated] and wasn’t scared of getting sick. I didn’t really trust that it could help me somehow, and now there is so many restrictions so I just decided to do it…my boyfriend, my family, all kind of were pushing me [to get the vaccine] because they got vaccinated a long time ago and we can’t go to the restaurants anymore.”

—Natalia, 31, Brooklyn

Photo of Ruben and Veronica by Andrea Pineda-Salgado for Epicenter-NYC

“Yeah, we heard that if you get vaccinated you have less probability of getting the virus, that’s why we did it, because we wanted to feel a little more safe. Because the whole world is waiting for [the vaccine]. In my country [Ecuador] everyone is desperately waiting [to get vaccinated] but here a lot of people don’t get vaccinated because they don’t want to. In other countries that are not as developed are crying out for the vaccine so we had to take advantage of this. I would tell people to get vaccinated, so that there are less cases because it is a vaccine like for the flu. If we get [Covid] we will get it but it won’t kill us, like those who aren’t vaccinated. So, just get vaccinated and if you have side effects you’ll have to endure them but they are not so bad. Because in other countries like I said, people are crying out for the vaccine but here they are giving out things, they are begging people to get vaccinated, so get vaccinated.”

—Ruben Chica, Veronica Cushcagua 28, Brooklyn (translated from Spanish)

“I had Covid four months ago, I did not have a good time, the doctors told me I need to wait four or five months before I could get the vaccine, that I why I came until now…after I survived the virus I said, as soon as the time that is necessary passes I will get the vaccine. [The vaccine incentives] are a motivation to motivate people to get the vaccine, but in reality you shouldn’t play with your health. We should be able to get vaccinated without receiving anything in return because it is our health that is at play.”

—Jose Miguel Jimenez, 33, Brooklyn (translated from Spanish) 

“[I chose to come now] because I just gave birth. My daughter is already six months old and before I was scared the vaccine would affect her but now I think it is okay, so I took it.”

—Kathy Chen, 34, Coney Island, Brooklyn

“We are here to get vaccinated, we are from Korea and there are no vaccines from Moderna, so we came because we wanted vaccines from Moderna. [We would tell people] to get vaccinated and get their gift. We think it was a nice policy [to receive 100 dollars].”

—Hyun Wook, 37, South Korea

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