Left to right: Jerry Walsh, CEO, Ian of Honda City Levittown, human resources representative, Saundra L. Chisolm, director of employee health and wellness emergency preparedness coordinator, Dr. Christopher Parker executive vice president, chief operating officer/chief nursing officer. Angela Schweitzer, nurse manager, chief human resources officer and vice president. (Photo courtesy of SJEH)

A hospital in the Rockaways announced that more than 1,500 members of its staff received the COVID-19 vaccine thanks to a month-long staff vaccination incentive program.

Under the program implemented by St. John’s Episcopal Hospital (SJEH), health care staff who got vaccinated were automatically entered into a raffle to win a new car, helping the hospital surpass Queens’ overall hospital worker vaccination percentage of over 67 percent.

Currently, city data shows that only 40.7 percent of the Rockaways residents in 11691 are vaccinated, making it the top unvaccinated zip code in Queens and the third overall in New York City behind 11211 and 11233 in Brooklyn. Additionally, 11691 was the second deadliest zip code at the height of the pandemic.

Left to right: Saundra L. Chisolm, director of employee health and wellness emergency preparedness coordinator and Alexis Raimondi, infection control director. Photo courtesy of SJEH

“I am happy to say after implementing the car raffle contest, St. John’s has climbed above the Queen’s County total percentage of hospital employees who are COVID-19 vaccinated,” said Christopher J. Parker, RN, NEA-BC, CHCQM, executive vice president, chief operating officer/chief nursing officer. “We are doing all that we can do to provide that extra nudge to those who may be hesitant to get the vaccine, especially with the Delta variant becoming more prominent in NYC.”

The winner of the car raffle, funded through incentives from the Cares Act, was Chidoziri Banks, a patient care technician and Rockaway resident. The lucky winner of the Honda Civic Sport works the night shift at SJEH and is a stringent advocate of the vaccine.

“This program was lovely because it was a great incentive to influence staff to get the vaccine,” Banks said. “I recovered from COVID-19 and it was difficult. I encourage you to protect yourself and your loved ones by getting the vaccine if you are eligible!”

Chidoziri Banks, patient care technician. (Photo courtesy of SJEH)

Those interested can receive the free COVID-19 vaccine at St. John’s new Patient Express Care Center, which is open Monday through Friday from 12:30 to 9 p.m., with vaccines available from 1 to 8 p.m. Patients can walk in without an appointment or schedule an appointment at 718-869-7690.

Patients can also get vaccinated through the Mobile Health Unit. Visit @StJohnsEpisHosp on Twitter to find out the location of the Mobile Health Unit.

This story first appeared on QNS.com.

For more coronavirus coverage, visit longislandpress.com/coronavirus.

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