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NYMC Administers COVID-19 Vaccine and Gives a Shot of Hope

A limited supply of COVID-19 vaccines arrived at NYMC.

March 30, 2021
Lori Solomon, M.D. '99, M.P.H. '09, director of the Family Health Center, vaccinating a patient

The vaccine supply arrived after the yeoman’s work of Lori Solomon, M.D. '99, M.P.H. '09, director of the Family Health Center, clinical associate professor and chair of the Department of Family and Community Medicine; Marisa Montecalvo, M.D., director of Health Services and professor of medicine; and Vilma E. Bordonaro, M.B.A., chief of staff, who led the effort to secure the high-demand vaccine. The process was a rigorous one starting with enrolling in the New York State Department of Health COVID-19 Vaccination Program. After satisfying the provider requirements and legal agreement, the extensive application process included completing a detailed provider profile, enrolling in the New York State Immunization Information System and meeting strict receiving and storage requirements for the vaccine.

In the meantime, a dedicated space on the ground floor of Skyline Drive was created to safely administer the vaccine. A call for volunteers to the NYMC community to staff the clinic was successful, while everyone awaited word that vaccines were available. Volunteers included vaccinators from Health Services and the Family Health Center as well as staff from the School of Medicine, the School of Health Sciences and Practice and TCDM.

Medical students pitched in as well. Led by Mathias E. Palmer, School of Medicine Class of 2021, they helped organize the vaccination POD, assembled consent and information forms, prepared the packaging for the vaccine vials and set up the refreshments station in the recovery area.

When the day finally arrived, volunteers ensured the registration process and discharge procedure went smoothly and safely. It is estimated that each appointment took approximately eight minutes plus the recovery period after the vaccination. Appointments were also made for administering the second dose in 28 days. 

One of the volunteers who helped make the clinic run smoothly was Fiona A. Villate, administrative assistant and scheduler for Robert W. Amler, M.D., M.B.A., dean of the School of Health Sciences and Practice, who oversaw the registration process. “We ran a very efficient, effective ship and worked well together as a cohesive team,” she said of the day. “I always enjoy working with a diverse group of faculty, staff and students, at campus-wide events and I believe this was one of the most important events we ever had. I am happy to be able to help the vaccination effort in any way I can.” 

“We have made a request for additional vaccines and will keep the NYMC community informed,” said Ms. Bordonaro. Another batch of vaccines will be administered on March 31. 

“After a year of diagnosing people with COVID-19, it’s particularly gratifying to participate in actively preventing the disease. This was truly a college-wide effort,” said Dr. Solomon. “I am proud that we were finally able to vaccinate some of our frontline workers and students.”