This is like something from a movie…more than half a dozen doctors and nurses at New York area hospitals said they were upset at how the vaccine was being distributed at their institutions. They described what had happened to The New York Times but asked that their names not be used because hospitals have shown a willingness to fire or punish employees for speaking to the news media during the pandemic.
At some major hospitals in Manhattan, doctors and nurses have recalled scrolling through social media and pausing to make a snap judgment each time they saw a selfie one of their colleagues had posted of getting vaccinated: Did that person deserve to be vaccinated before they were?
“We feel disrespected and underappreciated due to our second-tier priority for vaccination,” a group of anesthesiologists at Mount Sinai Hospital wrote to administrators over the weekend.
Health care workers said rumors were proliferating in WhatsApp groups and amid the banter of the operating room. Stories have begun to circulate of a plastic surgeon who managed to get vaccinated early, of doses being thrown out at one Manhattan hospital because of poor planning. On group chats, doctors debate how — and whether to — try to get vaccinated ahead of schedule.
At Mount Sinai Hospital, some doctors told others that you could talk your way into receiving a vaccine just by getting in line and repeating that you do “COVID-related procedures,” one Mount Sinai doctor, who requested anonymity for fear of retribution, recalled.