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RUMC Authorized by NYS DOH to Provide COVID-19 Vaccinations to Individuals 12 and Older

May 14, 2021

Two Lifelong Friends Among the First to Receive the Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine

May 13, 2021 – Earlier today, Richmond University Medical Center received authorization from the New York State Department of Health (NYS DOH) to immediately begin administering the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to anyone 12 years of age and older. Among the first in the newly approved age group were two 13-year-old friends who have known each other almost since they were born.

Gianna Shapiro of Manor Heights and Megan Lutz of Prince’s Bay received their first doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine together at RUMC, holding hands throughout the few seconds it took to administer the shot. Their mothers, Claudia Shapiro and Suzanne Lutz stood close by. The two friends first met in day care when they were just 6-months-old, cared for side by side at the Jewish Community Center of Staten Island’s Bernikow Building. The two were born only 10 days apart, Lutz on August 7 and Shapiro on August 17. Both said they were excited to begin the vaccine process which will officially be completed two weeks after they return to RUMC in early June to receive their second doses.

“I wanted to get vaccinated so I can hang out with my friends again,” Lutz said. “I was so happy driving with my mom over to the hospital for my shot. After I get my second shot, my whole family will all be vaccinated. I know many of my friends are going to get vaccinated too which means we will all be safer and we can be together more.”

Despite attending different schools, the friends spend plenty of time together virtually through social media platforms after classes during the week and on weekends. As positivity rates in the community have decreased in recent months, the two have been able to spend more time together in person and with other friends in their age group. Both have also been annual campers at the Jewish Community Center of Staten Island’s summer camp since they first came of age to begin attending.

“It feels good to know I am getting better protected,” Shapiro said. “I know it will keep me, my friends, and my family safe. I wanted to get vaccinated because it also showed I respect other people.”

Over 16,000 individuals have been vaccinated at RUMC since the hospital began administering COVID-19 vaccinations to the public in January. While staff continue to administer the vaccine almost daily helping to turn the tide on the virus, RUMC’s medical staff also continues to care for individuals in need of treatment for COVID-19. Since the pandemic began last spring, RUMC has treated and discharged over 3,800 COVID-19 positive individuals.

“We are now at a point in the vaccination process where we are vaccinating different generations in the same household and protecting entire families,” President and Chief Executive Officer, Daniel J. Messina, PhD, FACHE, said. “The efficacy of these vaccines is enabling all of us to move closer to resuming our normal lives and be with one another safely. I continue to urge everyone to get vaccinated when you have the opportunity.”

Anyone interested in receiving the COVID-19 vaccine at RUMC can call 718-818-3193 for more information.