By: Yosef Lemel  | 

NYC Vaccine Site Opens on Wilf Campus as NYS Eligibility Expands

A New York City vaccine site, offering the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, opened on Yeshiva University’s Wilf Campus on Wednesday, April 7 following the expansion of vaccine eligibility to all New York residents or workers above the age of 16 on Tuesday, April 6. 

The site is located in Weissberg Commons — on the ground floor of Belfer Hall — and will be available to the public through June 2021, according to an April 5 email from the university announcing the site’s opening. The times of operation are from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Sunday through Thursday and 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Friday; the location will be closed for Shabbos and Jewish holidays. 

“As part of our mission, we are always looking for ways to help the community at large, especially during these unprecedented times,” expressed President Ari Berman in a statement to The Commentator. “This includes opening our campus to the city's historic COVID vaccination effort and contributing to greater vaccine access and health equity for Northern Manhattan residents.”

The April 5 email, which first notified students about the opening of the site, noted that the university “is only providing space and has no part in the operation” of the site; rather, it will be operated by Centers Urgent Care “on behalf of New York City.” YU set up separate entrances and exits from the site, which are monitored by security officers to “maintain the safety and security of the campus.”

Berman credited the site’s establishment to the university’s “partnership with Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office, Assembly Member Carmen De La Rosa and Congressmember Adriano Espaillat, as well as Eric Goldstein and the UJA who are helping coordinate” outreach to vulnerable populations, including Holocaust survivors. 

Appointments at the site, and at other NYC locations, can be scheduled through the online NYC Vaccine Finder or by calling 877-VAX-4NYC. YU’s vaccine site is one out of 25 sites that allow for New Yorkers who are 75 or older to walk in and receive the vaccine without scheduling an appointment.

Some students were happy to hear that a vaccine site will open on campus. “I think that this arrangement has great potential to create a bond between Yeshiva University and the rest of the wider Washington Heights community and will benefit the YU student body greatly by providing them convenient access to vaccination,” said Zachary Ottenstein (YC ‘22). 

Vice Provost for Student Affairs Chaim Nissel told The Commentator that the university still requires the participation of vaccinated students and staff in the COVID-19 monitoring program through their taking bi-weekly rapid tests. “We are continuing to work with our medical director and NYC and NYS health and safety protocols, and if there are any updates to our policies we will share [them],” he said.

Although more students will now be able to receive vaccines, the university currently has no plans for altering its virtual commencement ceremony to an in-person format, according to Aliza Berenholz Peled, senior director of events and brand experience, citing NYS COVID-19 guidelines as the rationale.

COVID-19 cases have been steadily decreasing in NYC. As of the time of publication, NYC Department of Health statistics put the number of confirmed cases in the past week at 17,498, down from a weekly average in the past month of 19,573. Over 4.5 million doses have been administered in NYC; 37% of the adult population have received at least one dose and 23% are fully vaccinated. 

“We are extremely privileged to be able to partner with the City at the Yeshiva University vaccination site in order to keep the community safe from this challenging pandemic,” stated Centers Urgent Care CEO S. Scott Orlanski. “Centers Urgent Care is in business to provide the best possible care for the community and providing this vaccine is a vital effort that we are proud to be a part of.”

Photo Caption: Belfer Hall, where the vaccine site is located 
Photo Credit: Yosef Lemel