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Aya Travel Nurse Robert Helps Vaccinate NYC’s Most Vulnerable At Home

April 6, 2021 | Clinician Stories

Aya Healthcare heroes are stepping up again to assist on the COVID-19 frontlines — this time as part of a special project in New York City. Although the COVID-19 vaccine is available nationwide, many of NYC’s most vulnerable are unable to leave their homes, either physically or because they lack the means to get to a vaccination site. Out of this need, the NYC COVID-19 homebound vaccination program was launched in early March, bringing healthcare workers to residences across the city to administer vaccines at home.

This vital vaccination program is special to Aya travel nurse, Robert Mortel, in more ways than one. He was born and raised in NYC, so it hits particularly close to home. Robert says anyone who knows him knows he’s extremely tied to Brooklyn, and it’s exciting to help his own community. “These people felt like they were forgotten, and when we come, they’re so excited. It feels good to be a part of that,” he said. “I actually administered a vaccine on my block for someone who used to babysit my niece. She didn’t recognize who I was until I asked if she remembered me. She still has a photo she took with my niece.”

Each morning, Aya travelers meet at a muster site to pick up vaccines for the day and are transported by car to homes within the five boroughs to administer them — bringing both hope and relief to NYC’s most vulnerable residents. Currently, the project is slated for seven weeks, but could extend as the hope is to reach all homebound residents who want to receive the vaccination.

After being a staff nurse for 11 years, Robert took up travel nursing at the start of the pandemic. “I love that you get to see things, go places, experience something new. But I’m happy I got to work on this project in a familiar place.” Robert says he’s “grateful and honored to help” where he’s needed most.

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