By Emily Drooby
It’s a big moment for Vanessa Santiago: she’s being vaccinated.
“I was here last month and now I’m back for my second dose,” Vanessa explained to Currents News.
It’s a Godsend. The non-profit school employee had a hard time finding a slot in her neighborhood.
“Everyone’s trying to get their vaccine so doing a waitlist or even going online to the DOH or the CDC website, every time I kept going in, there were no appointments available,” Vanessa said.
Her shot is coming from a Catholic Charities of New York vaccine distribution event that’s held at the community center of an affordable housing development in the Bronx.
That event will provide health access to people like long-time resident Salvador Carrasco.
“Yes, very helpful this way, I don’t have to go out, just bring it to my door,” Salvador said.
About half of adults in New York City have yet to receive their first COVID shot. Right now, there’s a lot of available appointments but people are facing other kinds of roadblocks.
“The reality is you want to go where people are at, there are still barriers to people getting appointments also getting to the locations,” explained Richard Espinal. He’s the Director of Housing Support Services and Parish & Community Engagement at Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York.
He added that for example, getting to Yankee Stadium, a large vaccination site in the Bronx can be almost impossible from certain areas.
There are also tech barriers to consider.
“There’s a city platform, there’s a state platform,” Richard said. “Getting to those different sites and navigating all that can be very confusing for a lot of folks, particularly if language is an issue, if using the technology is an issue, things like captcha and all of those safeguards. For some folks, those are just barriers that we want to eliminate.”
Events like this by Catholic Charities will help to eliminate those barriers. More than 150 people got their second vaccination at the event. Catholic Charities of NY plans to continue to hold similar events in the future as long as there is a need.