Since joining the staff at Grand Care Pharmacy inside of Key Food at 66-56 Grand Avenue in Maspeth as a nurse, Meliz Jimenez says she is enjoying working with the people in the community where she lives at a time when she is most needed.
“I remember in February I had someone say to me, ‘Thank you for saving my life’ and all I did was give them the vaccine,” says Jimenez, a Maspeth resident. “It was really touching.”
Jimenez, a recent graduate of St. Paul’s School of Nursing on Queens Boulevard, joined the staff at the full-service pharmacy to help in the vaccination effort. Since then, she’s worked through the highs, lows and resurgences of COVID-19.
“Back in February we were doing like 70 to 100 vaccinations a day,” says Jimenez, who grew up in East Elmhurst. “Now we’re doing about 20 vaccinations a day, but we’re seeing an uptick in testing. We did about 70 tests yesterday.”
According to the COVID Data Tracker on the Centers for Disease Control website, more than 1.5 million people in Queens have received at least one dose of the vaccine, and just under 1.4 million people have been fully vaccinated. The number of fully vaccinated people in Queens represents 62 percent of the borough’s population.
As the Delta variant presents challenges for healthcare workers, Grand Care Pharmacy has made an effort to relay the most current and accurate information to the community.
“A lot of people are concerned about the spikes and there’s a lot of myths and controversial information out there,” Jimenez says. “People come here very misinformed, and we do our best to inform them the best that we can.”
The pharmacy has focused on helping those who want to be vaccinated by not requiring appointments for tests or vaccines, even making house calls to do so.
“We’ve been going out and administering vaccines to patients at their homes because its been hard for some to come out with the recent heat waves,” says Dr. Trevor Latchminarain, pharmacist and owner at Grand Care Pharmacy. “My staff and I have been on the frontlines serving our community from the beginning of the pandemic, caring for patients who tested positive, building awareness about vaccinations, and maintaining communication with our patients to ensure that they receive care”.