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    New York National Guard Assists with COVID19 Vaccinations at Yankee Stadium

    New York National Guard Supports COVID-19 Response at Yankee Stadium

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Christopher Muncy | BRONX, NEW YORK - Doctor Ilonka Rincon Portas provides a COVID-19 vaccination shot to...... read more read more



    Story by Staff Sgt. Christopher Muncy 

    New York National Guard

    NEW YORK – Sixty-five New York National Guard Soldiers and Airmen supported state health and emergency service agencies offsetting up mass COVID-19 vaccinations at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx on Friday, February 5.

    The state Department of Health selected the vaccination site to vaccinate at-risk members of the Bronx community, first responders, and essential employees. The site is the result of coordination between public and private partners, city and state government, the National Guard and the New York Yankees, officials said.

    Among the five boroughs of New York City, the Bronx continues to have the highest COVID-19 positivity rate, which played a key role in choosing the stadium as a key vaccination site, said New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo in his announcement of the site February 5.

    "Our efforts to target vaccinations by locations with higher positivity rates have been working to not only keep the infection rate down, but to help ensure equity in our vaccine distribution process,” Cuomo said.

    "We reached out to Yankee Stadium with a somewhat unorthodox request, which is would Yankee Stadium be willing to help us with this COVID crisis by making the stadium available as a mass vaccination site Yankees ownership and management said yes,” Cuomo said.

    Members of the National Guard, who developed and deployed vaccine points of distribution across New York State, provided troops to prepare and administer the vaccination site, targeted specifically for local residents of the Bronx.

    The Soldiers, Airmen, Naval Militia and New York Guard members provided a variety of support efforts to the vaccination site for its opening day. Troops assisted with logistics, access control, assisted residents moving through the stadium and even provided medical personnel to assist with vaccine injections.

    The site, like every vaccination site, operated with urgency of a combat field hospital, in order to maintain efficiency and timeliness throughout to make sure that no vaccines went to waste.

    The goal is to complete 15,000 initial vaccine doses in a week, with the stadium providing appointments for vaccines 12 hours a day.

    “I spoke to a great amount of people,” said New York Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Jeremy Cardenales, a Queens resident and NCOIC of the vaccine site.

    “They said they don’t mind the wait as long as they get vaccinated, that it is all worth it. It’s been a positive reaction from everybody,” said Cardenales, assigned to the 1st Battalion, 258th Field Artillery. “They’re excited to get vaccinated.”

    SOMOS Community Care provided the medical personnel at the site administering the vaccines.

    “In a great baseball movie, Field of Dreams, the script reads 'if you build it, they will come,'” said Dr. Ramon Tallaj, SOMOS Chairman. “I am optimistic that will be the case for communities of color and vaccination at Yankee Stadium -- and we are ready to get the doses in arms our city needs to get back to work, reopen schools and small businesses, and recover from this pandemic."

    Guardsmen and women helped ready and move syringes loaded with vaccine from the pharmacy area to awaiting nurses and doctors at stations around Yankee Stadium. Other service members helped transport wheelchair-bound or disabled members of the community upon arrival to the stadium to the medical team waiting to administer the vaccine indoors.

    “This is an exciting day in the Bronx, and you know, this is a special place, Yankee Stadium, and has been the host of a lot of really special opening days, and I would say this is the most special opening day,” said Yankees Manager Aaron Boone.

    “The fact that we're able to be out there and really saving lives in this community, this is a day of hope, and it's really exciting to be here and to be a small part of it,” he said.

    “Soldiers and Airmen of the New York National Guard are happy to be part of this effort to provide vaccinations for residents of the Bronx,” said Maj. Gen. Ray Shields, the Adjutant General for the New York National Guard.

    Welcoming the community to the vaccine site was legendary Yankees relief Pitcher Mariano Rivera, who spent most of his career from 1995 to 2013 as a relief pitcher as the Yankees famous closer for 17 seasons.

    “I used to pitch here and save games, now this is about saving lives,” Rivera said. “This is greater than baseball. I mean, we're talking about thousands and millions of people, and I walk around people there getting the vaccine, and I see so many smiles on faces, that's what it's all about. Hope is the name of the game right now.”

    After the initial week of first dose vaccines, the site will reopen after 21 days to administer the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines to Bronx residents.

    The temporary Yankee Stadium site complements the ongoing efforts of National Guard forces to administer and support vaccination sites across the state.

    National Guard members currently support 13 vaccination points of distribution, including sites in Manhattan, Queens, Jones Beach, Stonybrook, White Plains, Albany, Binghamton, Oriskany, Syracuse, Rochester, Buffalo, Potsdam and Plattsburgh. The sites are providing, on average, more than 16,000 vaccines to eligible recipients each day.

    “Opening a mass vaccination site at Yankee Stadium - the Bronx's most iconic landmark - is the perfect solution to helping this borough get vaccinated and defeat COVID once and for all," Cuomo said.



    Date Taken: 02.05.2021
    Date Posted: 02.11.2021 10:32
    Story ID: 388857
    Location: BRONX, NEW YORK, US

    Web Views: 349
    Downloads: 1