NEW YORK – More than 1,200 seniors were vaccinated at the emergency center set up at the Kimisis tis Theotokou (Dormition of the Virgin Mary) community in Southampton.
This is an initiative of the presiding priest of the church, Fr. Alexander Karloutsos, in collaboration with Stony Brook Southampton Hospital, resulting in a large number of elderly citizens receiving safe and hassle-free doses of the Pfizer vaccine, in two repeat procedures, on March 11 and 25.
As Fr. Karloutsos told The National Herald, it was he who decided to contact Stony Brook Southampton Hospital’s Chief Administrative Officer Robert Chaloner, when he found out that the facilities of the hospital could not serve such a large number of people eligible for the vaccination.
"When I went to get my vaccine, I found that the hospital did not have the necessary rooms to serve so many people. So I thought, why shouldn't our church do that? So I contacted Bob Chaloner and offered him our church. He accepted it immediately,” said Fr. Karloutsos.
It is noted that the presiding priest of the Church of the Dormition – and Vicar General of the Archdiocese – knows Chaloner and the administrators of the Hospital personally, as he is a member of the fundraising committee for the construction of a new building for the hospital which is much-needed in the area.
"Coincidentally and with great blessing, the vaccine that was given was from Pfizer which has as Chairman and CEO the Greek-Jewish Dr. Albert Bourla, of whom we are all proud. He is a good-hearted and very intelligent man,” added Fr. Karloutsos.
The Southampton community also took part in the project with Public Security and Emergency Management Administrator Ryan Murphy welcoming the effort and the result.
“It was a great collaboration, which resulted in some of our vulnerable elderly citizens being vaccinated against COVID-19,” he said in an official statement.
The process went smoothly, while the seniors had the opportunity to receive their vaccine in an orderly fashion and without any hassle or delay.
“The church exists to serve the people around us, to be the consolation, the light and the hope. She must open the gates to her children, not only to the Greeks, but to the whole world. We are not here to praise ourselves, but the Lord and we do it, serving the public,” concluded Fr. Karloutsos.