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Nadler, Maloney, 9/11 Community Encourage All Those with 9/11-Related Illness to Get Vaccinated

New York, NY – Today, as individuals with 9/11-related illnesses became eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine across New York State, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (NY-10) and Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12), sponsors of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act and its subsequent reauthorizations, and members of the 9/11 community encouraged all those with 9/11-related illnesses to get vaccinated.  

“The 9/11 first responders and survivors whose heroism inspired millions of Americans continue to live with medical conditions from exposure to toxins in and around Ground Zero. Many of these pre-existing conditions have resulted in vulnerable respiratory systems and compromised immune systems—for so many 9/11 heroes, a COVID-19 diagnosis means a death sentence. That’s why it’s vital that they have access to the COVID-19 vaccine: in many cases, lives depend on it,” said Congressman Nadler. “I’m glad to see that vaccination eligibility has been expanded so that our 9/11 heroes are now included. These heroes were there for us when we needed them most—ensuring that they have access to the preventative care they need is the very least they deserve.” 

“The COVID-19 vaccine is key to our city and nation’s recovery from this crisis. Today, 9/11 responders and survivors with 9/11-related medical conditions that increase the risk for severe COVID-19 are eligible to receive the vaccine. I encourage them to do so as it is safe, effective, and saves lives,” said Congresswoman Maloney. “The 9/11 community lives with pre-existing conditions because they were exposed to the toxins in the air at and around Ground Zero after our government told them it was safe. We made a promise to ‘Never Forget’ all the lives lost and the sacrifices made by these heroes. Making sure those with 9/11-related illnesses can get the vaccine is fulfilling that promise.  As we increase those with eligibility it is also imperative that the federal government, New York State, and New York City work together to make vaccine distribution more effective, efficient, and equitable. I continue to work with my colleagues in all levels of government to make that happen.” 

“Thankfully, NY State has now extended vaccine eligibility to adults under age 65 with comorbid medical conditions (cancer, pulmonary disease, autoimmune disease, etc.) that put them at extreme risk if they were to be infected with COVID-19.  This will be a great benefit to everyone in our communities including those in our World Trade Center Health Program.  But increasing eligibility is only the first step.  Without greater vaccine supply availability, we on the front lines lack the ability to translate hope into reality,” said Dr. David Prezant, Chief Medical Officer, FDNY, Special Advisor to the Fire Commissioner for Health Policy, Co-Director WTC Health Program - New York City Fire Department. 

“Friends, we did not come this far, to just come this far! If you or anyone you know was affected by the toxic aftermath of 9/11/01 from working on the pile, then I implore you to get the vaccination to not only protect yourself, but your loved ones as well,” said John Feal, 9/11 Responder and Advocate. 

“We are very pleased that our under 65, FDNY 9/11 Health Program members with underlying conditions will now be able to receive the vaccination. These members are uniquely endangered by COVID and the vaccination will go a long way in protecting those that have given so much,” said Andrew Ansbro, President of the Uniformed Firefighters Association. 

“We will say it again: the sacrifices made by our 9/11 heroes were not a one-time event. Many are still paying the price for their bravery nearly two decades later, and this pandemic puts them at even greater risk. It is imperative that we get every one of these heroes vaccinated as soon as possible. We thank Representative Maloney for continuing to fight on their behalf,” said Patrick J. Lynch, President of the Police Benevolent Association of the City of New York. 

“As we have said from day one, we are committed to ensuring 9/11 responders and survivors, many of whom are union members, get the quality medical care they so desperately need. During this pandemic, getting vaccinated is a critical component of that care. We join with Representatives Maloney and Nadler in urging all those with 9/11-related illnesses to get vaccinated as soon as possible,” said Mario Cilento, President of the New York State AFL-CIO. 

“We’re grateful for Congresswoman Maloney’s leadership in ensuring that September 11 first-responders and survivors who live with injuries or long-term medical conditions related to the attacks receive the expedited access to the vaccine that they deserve. I urge all of our members – and all New Yorkers – who selflessly and honorably supported recovery efforts in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks to put their health and their families first by receiving the vaccine as soon as possible. The sooner New Yorkers get vaccinated, the sooner we’ll be able to put this crisis behind us,” said Gary LaBarbera, President of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York

“This year marks 20 years since the 9/11 attacks on our nation and we are approaching one-year since COVID-19 began its devastating spread. Those two health crisis are absolutely intertwined, especially for the tens of thousands with compromised immune systems as result of their exposure to World Trade Center toxins. As a city and nation, we must always focus on the needs of those first responders who keep us safe from harm and continually risk their own health and wellbeing of society,” said Oren Barzilay, President of FDNY EMS Local 2507. 

"The vaccine eligibility for the WTC responder and survivor community, as a result of Congresswoman Maloney's efforts, continues to show she is a champion for the 9/11 WTC community. We thank her,” said Gary Smiley, FDNY Local 2507 Uniformed Paramedics, EMT's & Fire Inspectors and WTC Liaison. 

“DC 37 members answered the call on our city’s darkest day, just as we have continued to do during the COVID-19 pandemic. The selfless civil servants who risked their health on 9/11 deserve to be treated like the heroes that they are, and I’m so happy to see that they will be eligible for the vaccine beginning today,” said Henry Garrido, Executive Director of District Council 37, AFSCME

"WTC Survivors -- residents, workers and students with 9/11-related cancers, respiratory illnesses, or other conditions that put them at increased risk for severe COVID, are truly relieved to become eligible for COVID-19 vaccines, and are grateful to Representative Maloney for her support. Survivors continue to advocate for enough vaccine for everyone who is more vulnerable, due to their age, their underlying health conditions or jobs that put them at ongoing risk -- especially in New York City's communities of color, hardest hit by the virus. With this expansion of eligibility, it is long past time for New York City and State to fix the broken system for finding and signing up for appointments so as to ensure the free, fair and fully accessible vaccinations New Yorkers need and deserve,” said Kimberly Flynn, Chair of the WTC Health Program’s Survivors Steering Committee. 

"We are thrilled that New York State has finally opened the COVID-19 vaccine list to the 9/11 survivors. Our health risks place us at special risk of complications from the illness, so we encourage every survivor who qualifies, from the kids of 9/11 who are now in their 20s and 30s to the adult community members who breathed the dangerous air with us during the WTC clean-up, to do their part and get vaccinated as soon as possible. We hope that other states will follow suit, and we’ll fight to make sure they do,” said Lila Nordstrom, survivor advocate and Executive Director of StuyHealth. 

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