Coronavirus (Covid-19) and the vaccine: Mount Sinai calls a halt to non-staff vaccinations

Filed Under: Costs

It’s been complicated trying to find anybody who’s giving the Covid-19 vaccine here in the New York area. Mount Sinai Health Systems was offering vaccine to all comers — but they shut down their effort last week. I had scheduled an appointment for March 4 on their website, and although I have a confirmation from them, I am assuming that appointment is no longer valid, though I did not receive a notification of cancellation.

This is what appeared on their website — and the letter here is what they sent internally to their staff. Note that they cancelled not only civilians like me, but apparently also all non-staff appointments, including relatives of staff members.

TO:

All Faculty, Staff, Trainees, and Students

FROM:

Kenneth L. Davis, MD
President and Chief Executive Officer
Mount Sinai Health System

Dennis S. Charney, MD
Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Dean
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
President for Academic Affairs
Mount Sinai Health System

January 15, 2021

COVID-19 Vaccination Update, January 15

These past few weeks, we saw yet again what the Mount Sinai Health System is capable of.

With very little warning, and without taking attention away from caring for our patients, you turned on a dime to massively scale up our COVID-19 vaccination pods. You secured space; brought in additional furniture, equipment, dividers, and supplies; set up scheduling and clinical IT systems; volunteered in droves to help out, at a time when our workforce is already severely stretched; handled all the necessary regulatory issues; and managed the complex flow of people through our lobbies, atriums, conference rooms, and other repurposed areas.

We are so very grateful for all that you did. And we are very impressed, too.

By now you know that because of unanticipated decreases in the vaccine supply, we had to stop taking vaccination appointments for patients and the public, and cancel some appointments that had already been made. We are as disappointed as you are about this, but unfortunately the vaccine supply is not under our control. If we obtain adequate vaccine supplies, we will contact the patients whose appointments were canceled to reschedule.

Consistent with New York State Department of Health prioritization guidance, we are still vaccinating our health care teams and we are still making sure that we will be able to give a second vaccination dose to all patients and employees who received their first vaccination dose from us. Every eligible employee—those who work onsite, and remote workers who are 65 or over—and voluntary physician who wants a COVID-19 vaccine can still get one now through Mount Sinai.

And we look forward to welcoming patients and the public again if our vaccine supplies permit. It is always frustrating when we cannot fully serve our patients, but for those of you whose loved ones had appointments at Mount Sinai to be vaccinated, we are especially sorry. In the short term, we are suggesting that eligible patients check the New York State and New York City vaccine websites for information about where to get vaccinated.

The majority of you have already received your first dose of vaccine, and to you we say: Thank you for doing your part to stop this pandemic. Widespread vaccination is the only way that we will bring this terrible disease under control. If you have not yet scheduled your vaccination, and if you work onsite or if you are 65 or over and work remotely, please consider doing so today. You can learn more about the vaccines on our employee vaccine website, and we encourage you to speak to your colleagues who have been vaccinated as well. More than 10 million Americans have received a COVID-19 vaccine by now, and their experience confirms what the clinical trials showed: the vaccines are safe and rarely produce significant side effects.

This week was in many ways a frustrating one, but we would ask you not to lose sight of the bigger picture. Every shot we give—and we have given a very large number of them by now—brings us closer to the end of this pandemic. Everything all of you do to make those shots possible brings that joyous day a little nearer. The path will not be straight and it will not be short. There will be detours along the way. But we are heading in the right direction. Mount Sinai continues to lead the way toward that better future. And we could not be more proud of the work all of you are doing to help get us there.