Brooklyn legislators Assemblywoman Latrice Walker and Councilwoman Alicka Ampry-Samuel last Wednesday teamed up with EmblemHealth and Medly Pharmacy, a pharmacy that offers free same-day prescription delivery, to provide flu vaccines to New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) residents and seniors in Brownsville.
The event was the first in a series sponsored by Walker and Ampry-Samuel to help spread awareness regarding the importance of flu vaccines and ensure that Brownsville residents are able to access preventative healthcare within the community.
“I am very excited to be part of this unique opportunity to serve my community,” said Ampry-Samuel. “I was born and raised in this area and feel one of my duties is to actively seek out ways that I can protect and care for the people here.
“Many NYCHA residents are older and face a greater risk of health complications from the flu,” she added. “After seeing how hard our family, friends and neighbors were hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s critical that we invest in keeping Brownsville residents safe this winter.
“By bringing vaccinations directly to residents, Medly and EmblemHealth are reducing barriers to accessing needed healthcare and saving countless lives,” Ampry-Samuel continued.
She said that, in 2019, there were more than 38 million cases of the flu in the US. and only 48 percent of the population received flu shots.
This year, she said there has been a growing concern among experts that an influenza epidemic coupled with the current COVID-19 pandemic could overwhelm hospitals and lead to diagnosis confusion.
The possibility of contracting both the flu and COVID-19 virus simultaneously could also pose a severe health risk during the season, Ampry-Samuel said.
“We are very eager to serve our community in this way,” said Dr. Marg Patel, chief executive officer and co-founder of Medly. “We recognize the acute concern around the influenza epidemic, especially during the current pandemic, and are moved by the outpour of support from our partners to help as many members of the community as possible gain access to the vaccine.
Walker said that “now more than ever, it’s critical we make flu vaccines accessible to all New Yorkers.
“Despite Brownsville having the greatest concentration of public housing in the country, it often has the least access to resources,” she said. “I applaud Medly Pharmacy and EmblemHealth for providing an option to our community by bringing vaccines directly to communities like ours to keep them safe and healthy.”
George Hulse, EmblemHealth vice president and senior advisor to the CEO, said prevention awareness and on-the-ground care are “key components to keeping communities healthy. It also takes a village.
“We’re proud to partner with the City of New York, elected leaders, community organizations and innovative startups like Medly to keep Brooklyn healthy and safe,” he said. “To stem the possibility of a flu and COVID-19 twindemic, especially in underserved neighborhoods, EmblemHealth will be holding flu shot events throughout New York City.”
Medly pharmacists will be on-site administering the vaccination, and available for any questions associated with the virus.
The next event takes place on Nov. 6 from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm at the Van Dyke Community Center, 392 Blake Avenue, Brooklyn NY 11212. Ages 3+ years and up are eligible for the vaccine.