Free shots being administered at Taino Towers in upper Manhattan. Credit  Marcus Ayala.

By Dakota O’Brien and Marcus Ayala

 

On Thursday morning, a flu shot clinic was held at the Taino Towers on Second Avenue in upper Manhattan, free for the residents of New York’s Thirteenth Congressional District, which covers upper Manhattan and the western section of the Bronx. The shots were provided and administered by the Mount Sinai Health Care system.

“Mount Sinai has a robust community health program, including flu vaccinations with requests from community officials,” said Brad Korn, Director of community and government affairs of Mount Sinai.

Congressman Adriano Espaillat’s office organized the clinic but he did not attend, although his office said he would be stopping by future clinics planned for the district.

“As an elected official, Congressman Espaillat is deeply committed to using his power of office to bring preventative health clinics to the community,” said Laurie Tobias-Cohen, a community affairs representative for the congressman.

No reason was given for the congressman not being there.

Health care has been an issue Espaillat has held in high regard during his tenure as a congressman, as he supported the Affordable Care Act and currently endorses H.R. 676, the Medicare for All Act, which would establish a single-payer health care system in the United States, Tobias-Cohen said.

This initiative taken by the Congressman was because of the large number of people who became sick and had not been vaccinated in the last flu season. “The 2017–18 influenza season was a high severity season,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “The 2017–18 season is the third overall high severity season since 2003–04 and the first classified as high severity for all age groups.”

Officials present at the clinic said they were disappointed with the low turnout, and are hoping to see more residents of the district take advantage of the free flu shot clinics that will be offered throughout November and December.