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For-Hire Vehicle and Taxi drivers are among those now eligible to receive Covid-19 vaccines in New York City. The NYC Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC) is encouraging licensees to seek appointments at vaccinefinder.nyc.gov or by calling the NYC appointment call center at 877-VAX4NYC (877-829-4692).
New York expanded vaccine eligibility in Jan. to include public workers, teachers, and people 65 and older. The state was getting about 300,000 doses a week from the federal government, according to Cuomo – but the Biden administration told governors in early Feb. that the state’s vaccine allocation would rise by 5% in Feb., on top of a previous boost of about 16%. The federal government also told governors that an additional 10% of the states’ allocation would be given to pharmacies, resulting in tens of thousands of additional doses.
Despite the rise in available doses, many drivers and base owners acknowledge that getting an appointment hasn’t been easy.
“We have been encouraging our drivers to get vaccinated, but even though they’re now eligible, signing up can be difficult,” explains Berj Haroutunian, President of Vital Transportation. “We do our best to keep them up to date on the various ways to sign up, but the process is complicated and time slots can be hard to come by.”
“I am not yet eligible to receive the vaccine, but I will not hesitate to get vaccinated as soon as I am,” adds Diana Clemente, President of Big Apple Car. “We encourage our drivers to do the same to protect themselves, their loved ones, and our customers. Everyone is suffering financially, but any real hope of an economic recovery will only happen when we achieve herd immunity, so we all must do our part. That includes overcoming any fears related to getting the vaccination, as well as continuing to social distance, wearing a mask, washing your hands often, and sanitizing your vehicle between clients.”
“Some of our Chauffeurs have been able to get vaccinated, but a lot of them are still having trouble scheduling a shot,” says Brittany Avishay, Vice President of Alpine Limousine. “We are constantly sending updates to our chauffeurs about locations and vaccine availability – and in the meantime, we keep reminding them of Covid-related concerns. Being in the hospitality industry, we can genuinely have an impact on ending this terrible pandemic. The same way we care for our families, we care for our clients and their families.”
“We recognized early on that, despite being eligible, it isn’t easy to get a vaccine,” says Avik Kabessa, President of Carmel Car & Limousine. “So, our driver liaison has been helping to educate our drivers and helping them through the process.”
“Getting your vaccine requires a little persistence, so we’re doing everything we can to help any drivers who want to get it,” notes George Potter, President of Skyline Credit Ride. “After weeks of trying, a place in Brooklyn opened up [called Interfaith Medical Center], so we alerted our drivers and 50 of them were able to get it done in a short period of time. They had to wait was between a half hour and two hours, but it was well worth it.”