Andy Akers and Jennifer Wilkov traveled from Prospect Heights in Brooklyn to The Teachers Preparatory High School in Brownsville to get the COVID-19 vaccination Tuesday.
Initially, Akers was the only one with an appointment, but he was hoping to give his spot to Wilkov, who has advanced stage 4 non-small-cell lung cancer.
"He wanted to give it to me and then the woman who checked us in registered us both and it was so kind of her because we really could not have predicted that,” said Wilkov.
The city opened the site last Wednesday, with the goal of serving residents in Brownsville and neighboring East New York. Both communities are largely African-American, a group that has been disproportionately hit by the pandemic, but underserved in receiving the vaccine.
The mayor also announced that vaccinating home health care workers would be another priority of the inoculation site.
"Focused on the immediate surrounding communities, Brownsville and East New York, two of the communities that we want to do so much more to reach with vaccinations. But also a special center for hard working home health aids,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio in a press conference last week.
But most of the people we spoke to Tuesday who had snagged appointments were neither home care workers nor nearby residents.
John Bedlu lives near the vaccination site, but did not have an appointment. He stopped by Tuesday to see if he could get one. He was told to try and book one online, but left his name and number so that the site could call him if they had an extra dose.
"It would be very convenient for me instead of going all the way to the Bronx, Manhattan, Queens or whatever,” explained Bedlu.
The city site is run by the company Capsul.
It is unclear if or how the city is prioritizing local residents and home health aid workers during the appointment process.
We have reached out to the Mayor’s Officer and Capsul for comment, but have not yet heard back.