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Food Workers Can Now Get the COVID Vaccine. Here’s How

This article about how workers can get the COVID vaccine is part of a collaboration between Documented and The City. We will be joining forces to keep our audiences up to date on the latest regarding rent, as it’s an important subject to immigrant communities. Sign up here to get updates sent via email or text from The City.

Also Read: The Covid-19 Vaccine Guide for Immigrants in New York

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New Yorkers can officially eat indoors at restaurants again starting on Feb. 12, and the workers who make that possible — those who prepare, serve and deliver food — are now eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

The expansion to include restaurant, delivery and taxi workers in the list of essential workers who can get vaccines came after THE CITY’s reporter Josefa Velásquez pressed Gov. Andrew Cuomo about it.

But even after being promised vaccines, we reported that some of these workers were having a hard time securing appointments this past week, and some were even being turned away from testing sites. 

We also found out that restaurant, delivery and taxi workers are only eligible at *certain* kinds of testing sites. And the way it’s set up may make it harder for workers without conventional documentation — including many gig workers — to prove they should be on the list to get the crucial shot.

Who qualifies to get the vaccine for workers in New York?

New York City is in Phase 1b of the vaccine rollout. This phase includes healthcare workers, nursing and group home staff, grocery and bodega workers, first responders, education staff, corrections staff, public transit workers and shelter workers.

As of Feb. 2, this list now includes restaurant, delivery and taxi workers.

You can find the full list of eligible workers here

Note: Beginning Feb. 15, New Yorkers with certain underlying health conditions can also start getting vaccinated. 

But there’s a catch: Restaurant, delivery and taxi workers can only get vaccinated at *certain* sites

Restaurant, delivery and taxi workers can only be vaccinated at city-run sites or mass vaccination centers run by the state, according to Cuomo’s office. That means workers aren’t eligible to be vaccinated at privately run — and often conveniently located — facilities like a pharmacy or certain health centers. 

Here are the “certain” sites

City- and state-run mass vaccination sites include:

Citi Field in Queens is also an option but, again, it’s *complicated*. The ballpark opened as a vaccination site this week, with 50% of the 200 daily appointments set aside specifically for food service workers and taxi drivers, and the remaining for Queens residents, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced. But those appointments — for food service workers and taxi drivers — are exclusively handled by the Yemeni American Merchants Association for its members and by the Taxi Limousine Commission.

You can find city-run a site using the NYC COVID Vaccine Finder. If you’re a restaurant, delivery or taxi worker, look for locations that start with Gotham Health, NYC Vaccine Hub, NYC Health Dept., or NYC Health + Hospitals. You can also call the city’s vaccination hotline 1-877-VAX-4NYC, which is available in English and Spanish. 

Here’s how these workers can make an appointment at these sites

Again, only *certain* sites can help delivery, restaurant or taxi workers. To make an appointment, go to the NYC Vaccine Hub Appointment Scheduler.

If you’re a delivery, restaurant or taxi workers worker, look for locations that start with Gotham Health, NYC Vaccine Hub, NYC Health Dept., and NYC Health + Hospitals

You can also call the city’s vaccination hotline 1-877-VAX-4NYC, which is available in English and Spanish. 

You can also book an appointment for Yankee Stadium here, for the Javits Center and Aqueduct Racetrack here or call the state’s vaccination hotline at 1-833-NYS-4-VAX, also available in several languages. 

Some good samaritans have also created websites that aggregate and check various sites for available appointments. You can find them here and here.

These are the documents needed to get the vaccine for workers

To prove eligibility, food industry and taxi workers will need a pay stub or letter from their employer showing where they work

Note: It’s very possible that a large number of these workers *may not* have many of these documents — for example they may be paid in cash or work for an app. Workers can bring a self-attested letter, which means you can write a letter for yourself. It has to include your name, where you work and a description of your job. The letter does not have to be notarized or written by a lawyer. 

If a vaccine for workers site is limited for residents of a certain area — like Yankee Stadium in The Bronx — workers will need ONE of the following: 

  • A government issued ID
  • A copy of a lease, a rent receipt or statement from a landlord
  • Mortgage record

If those aren’t available, TWO of the following are required to prove residency: 

  • Current mail like a cell phone or utility bill — something that displays your name and address
  • School records
  • A written statement from another person attesting to where you live

Also Read: here is a whole list of rent updates we have published in the last weeks.

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