Dr. Michelle Lee calls her appointment this week for the COVID-19 vaccine a New Year's gift.
The Manhattan dentist first received an email from the New York State Dental Association on New Year's Eve directing her to a site online to schedule it.
"The spots were very limited because once we found out, word spread and the spots fill up in 15 minutes,” explained Dr.Lee.
Lee was able to land an appointment in Westchester County for later this week.
But when she learned of an older colleague who is at higher risk of falling seriously ill, she gave her slot to him.
Then, on Monday, she got another email, this one from the city, announcing that all dentists and certain other health care workers could begin to receive the vaccine almost immediately.
"All of Tuesday, appointments booked up probably in an hour.”
Lee was able to arrange to get the vaccine on Tuesday in Downtown Manhattan.
She was told to bring an ID or a pay stub to prove her eligibility, and submit a completed registration form.
"It is a true honor and I am really grateful to all the scientists and researches who have worked tirelessly behind the scenes to have this happen. Very excited,” Lee said.
Although Lee secured an appointment, the vaccine roll out has frustrated many New Yorkers.
Lee says she does think the system needs improvement.
The first time she registered, through the state, she says the site crashed.
She added that vaccination appointments are reserved quickly without much notice.
"There have been complaints where the link didn’t work so we had to find an alternative link and a lot of the vaccine distribution was actually notified by us via our own colleagues, so a little bit more transparency. This NYC vaccine distribution this morning was a shock to us, would have been nice if we got a heads up,” she explained.
Lee says not only is she thankful that she will be safe, but that by being vaccinated, the potential of transmitting the virus to her patients will be dramatically reduced, too.