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More than 300 Holocaust survivors and World War II veterans got the coveted COVID-19 vaccine Thursday at a pop-up immunization site in Brooklyn, officials said.
The site at the Edith and Carl Marks Jewish Community House of Bensonhurst was made possible thanks to the help of the UJA-Federation of New York, a Jewish philanthropic organization, which teamed with the occupational care provider Mobile Health to set up the vaccine hub.
It was opened after organizers tried for weeks to get Big Apple Holocaust survivors an appointment to get inoculated through the city’s convoluted online vaccine signup system, but were unable to.
“As the vaccine rollout began in the city….we were told painful stories of survivors and frail elderly not being able to navigate the system and access appointments,” Hindy Poupko, the deputy chief planning officer at UJA-Federation of New York, told The Post Friday.
Among those to get jabbed Thursday at the pop-up site were Alexander Milman and his wife, Agnessa, Gothamist reported.
“We don’t want to get sick,” Alexander, who survived a Nazi concentration camp during World War II and whose brother died of the coronavirus last year, told the news site in Russian through an interpreter after getting the shot.
For some of the survivors who showed up to get vaccinated, it was their first time out of the house in months, according to organizers.
“They were hopeful and grateful,” the Edith and Carl Marks Jewish Community House of Bensonhurst, also known as JCH, said in a Facebook post.
As the elderly Holocaust survivors, some who were wheelchair-bound, arrived at the site for their first dose of the two-dose vaccine, Poupko and Alex Budnitsky, the executive director of the Bensonhurst community center, “looked at each other and said, ‘this is life-changing work,’” Poupko recalled.
“We are so privileged to have so many survivors still among us,” she said. “We have lost too many of them to this pandemic and the ability to give them this life-saving opportunity is an overwhelming moment of humility.”
A total of 330 Holocaust survivors were vaccinated at the site Thursday and 700 more from Borough Park and Williamsburg were put on a waitlist, Poupko said.
The pop-up vaccine site will open again in four weeks so those who got their first dose could get their second dose.
Poupko said the UJA-Federation of New York is working with its partners and the city to get more Holocaust survivors vaccinated.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said this week that the city is “going to initiate an effort right away to make sure that Holocaust survivors get vaccinated.”
“We’re going to partner with a number of organizations in the Jewish community…so we can have a special effort to reach these New Yorkers who have been through so much, but who still by their very perseverance give us so much hope,” de Blasio said.
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