These virus-fighting physicians have no shot.
City doctors who swab New Yorkers for the coronavirus say they’ve been left behind when it comes to getting vaccinated, despite their daily exposure to the bug.
Five doctors and a dentist interviewed by The Post said they don’t want to jump ahead of hospital staff in emergency rooms and ICUs, who get first preference for the inoculations.
But they’d like to know when it’s going to be their turn.
“I’m so livid,” said Dr. Dyan Hes, who runs Gramercy Pediatrics. “Here we are trying to stay open to serve our patients. There is no plan whatsoever to have any of our staff immunized.”
The state’s distribution plan calls for high-risk hospital workers to go first in the massive vaccination effort, followed by nursing home residents and staff, then those in long-term care facilities and EMS workers “and all other front line health care workers.”
It’s unclear when “all other front line health care workers” — like Hes and her colleagues — can get the jab.
“We’re (also) front liners. We’re working everyday,” Hes fumed.
The CDC says healthcare workers should be among the first to be vaccinated and defines them as those who are “paid and unpaid persons serving in health care settings who have the potential for direct or indirect exposure to patients or infectious materials.” It includes doctor’s offices in those settings.
New York started vaccinating hospital workers Dec. 14, days after the Pfizer COVID-19 shot was approved.
Nursing home patients and staffers began getting the shots Monday and the FDNY’s EMS workers were next on Wednesday.
“I think we were forgotten as pediatricians,” said Dr. Jennifer Trachtenberg with the Upper East Side’s Carnegie Hill Pediatrics.
The practice does about 100 COVID-19 tests a day and is open 365 days a year, Trachtenberg said. It did not even close through the height of the coronavirus outbreak last spring.
“It’s extremely difficult to not be thought of by New York State as the front line, because we’re not in the emergency room,” she said.
Dr. Moushumi Sanghavi, a Manhattan gastroenterologist, said although her patients were required to get a coronavirus test before undergoing procedures, there was a possibility for false negatives.
“I’m sure I’m doing procedures on COVID-positive patients without knowing it all the time,” she said. “Obviously, I would love to be vaccinated. It just really doesn’t seem like efficient methods are in place, which is incredibly frustrating.”
She found out late in the week she could get the vaccine in Essex County, NJ, where she lives.
Officials in Bergen County, NJ., announced Tuesday that all healthcare workers there could start getting the vaccine in about a week in a special field hospital.
But Dr. Alisa Neymark, a dentist in Manhattan and Brooklyn, said she was in the dark about when she and others would get vaccinated, noting patients obviously can’t wear masks as they get their teeth checked and she does procedures that generate a fine mist, which could contain virus-laden particles.
“We don’t know when this will happen. We don’t know how this will happen,” Neymark said. “We just want to be regarded in the same way as our medical colleagues, especially since we work in such a high risk environment.”
Dr. Lauren Levy, a Manhattan dermatologist, said she’s watched friends and colleagues in other states posting photos on social media as they got the vaccine. She has been on maternity leave since June and said she won’t go back to work until she can get the protective shot.
“It really is a failure of our city and our state where (in) other states, people are getting it easily,” Levy said.
The city is asking doctors to sign up for an immunization registry to be able to give out the shots to patients, as well as to themselves. The Health Department said it was waiting for guidance from the state about who should go next.
The state Health Department said the first group to get the shot does include private practice doctors, dentists and other direct health care workers and that they “will be contacted soon with more information as it becomes available.”