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St. John’s Episcopal Hospital Begins Administering COVID-19 Vaccines to Staff

Far Rockaway, New York, December 15, 2020 — St. John’s Episcopal Hospital has received the COVID-19 vaccine and has begun to vaccinate its frontline health care heroes.

As the only hospital located on the Rockaway Peninsula of Queens County, NY, St. John’s provides emergency, inpatient, and outpatient medical care to the region’s 140,000 residents. In March, the hospital diagnosed and treated the first case of COVID-19 in all of Queens County, NY, and by May it was reported that the Rockaways accounted for the second highest COVID-19 related death rate in New York City. Health care disparities exist in the community, and the area is home to 17 nursing homes that house many elderly and medically compromised individuals. This is the largest cluster of nursing homes in all of New York City.

“I am extremely proud of our staff who bravely come to work each and every day. Some of our staff became sick, and many lost family members to this disease,” said Jerry Walsh, Chief Executive Officer. “We recognize their hard work and sacrifices. They deserve this vaccine, and I hope it brings them comfort to know that they are protected.”

During the peak of the pandemic, ambulances carrying COVID-19 positive patients were lined up behind the hospital’s Emergency Department’s doors, spilling into the street.

“Through all of this, one thing remained a constant, our staff showed up to work each day ready to face this deadly disease head-on. They worked countless hours and sacrificed time with their loved ones,” said Donald Morrish, MD, Chief Medical Officer. “We are truly grateful to all those who made procuring the vaccine to protect our staff members possible including the New York State Department of Health, the New York City Department of Health, and the federal government.”

About Episcopal Health Services

Episcopal Health Services Inc., (EHS) is a health system located on the Rockaway Peninsula in Queens, New York. The system provides emergency and ambulatory care to the densely populated, culturally and economically diverse, and medically underserved Rockaways and Five Towns populations. The system provides people of all faiths with comprehensive preventive, diagnostic treatment, and rehabilitative services, regardless of their ability to pay.