Coronavirus – December 25, 2020
By: Jacqueline Mitchell
(TrueNewsBlog) – At NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital, one of the most highly regarded hospitals in New York City, a rumor spread last week that the line for the coronavirus vaccine on the ninth floor was unguarded and anyone could stealthily join and receive the shot.
Under the rules, the most exposed health care employees were supposed to go first, but soon those from lower-risk departments, including a few who spent much of the pandemic working from home, were getting vaccinated.
The lapse, which occurred within 48 hours of the first doses arriving in the city, incited anger among staff members — and an apology from the hospital.
“I am so disappointed and saddened that this happened,” a top executive at NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital, Dr. Craig Albanese, wrote in an email to staff, which was obtained by The New York Times.
The arrival of thousands of vaccine doses in New York City hospitals last week was greeted with an outpouring of hope from doctors and nurses who had worked through the devastating first wave in March and April. But for now, the vaccine is in very short supply, and some hospitals seem to have stumbled through the rollout.
Most of the vaccinations in the New York region to date have involved hospitals giving shots to their own employees, a relatively easy process compared with what is to come as part of the largest vaccination initiative in the nation since the 1940s.
The dynamics playing out at hospitals in New York City may be emblematic of what may happen across the country in the near future, when all adults will be given a place in the vaccination line by either the government or their employers.
In interviews for this article, more than half a dozen doctors and nurses at New York area hospitals said they were upset at how the vaccine was being distributed at their institutions. They described what had happened to The New York Times but most asked that their names not be used because hospitals have shown a willingness to fire or punish employees for speaking to the news media during the pandemic.
At some major hospitals in Manhattan, doctors and nurses have recalled scrolling through social media and pausing to make a snap judgment each time they saw a selfie one of their colleagues had posted of getting vaccinated: Did that person deserve to be vaccinated before they were?
“We feel disrespected and underappreciated due to our second-tier priority for vaccination,” a group of anesthesiologists at Mount Sinai Hospital wrote to administrators over the weekend.
Health care workers said rumors were proliferating in WhatsApp groups and amid the banter of the operating room. Stories have begun to circulate of a plastic surgeon who managed to get vaccinated early, of doses being thrown out at one Manhattan hospital because of poor planning.
On group chats, doctors debate how — and whether — to try to get vaccinated ahead of schedule.
At Mount Sinai Hospital, some doctors told others that you could talk your way into receiving a vaccine just by getting in line and repeating that you do “Covid-related procedures,” one Mount Sinai doctor, who requested anonymity for fear of retribution, recalled.
One doctor at the Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital said, “Clearly, we’re ready to mow each other down for it.”
Many of the rumors have not been true. Still, they illustrate a growing distrust and “every man for himself” attitude, another Mount Sinai doctor said.