9/11 first responders disheartened over COVID-19 vaccine distribution
Long Island 9/11 first responders who struggle with respiratory issues are currently not eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine and are now demanding answers.
Rich Palmer is a former 9/11 first responder now living with health conditions related to the attack. Palmer wants the vaccine but cannot receive it because 9/11 first responders don't fall under the category to get vaccinated first.
"The way the state is handling this vaccination is disgraceful," says Palmer.
Activist John Feal was also a 9/11 first responder. Feal says he wants answers from the state as to why 9/11 first responders who are struggling with health issues are not on the list to get vaccinated.
Feal says he doesn't think the vaccine should be taken away from people 65 and over but believes responders who are sick and dying should be eligible to get the vaccine to help prolong their lives.
News 12 reached out to the state to find out when Sept. 11 victims and responders would be eligible to receive the vaccine but has not heard back.
Feal says there are 9/11 responders who are scared to go to the doctor with their respiratory issues because they are not vaccinated.
"The 9/11 community has gone from anger to uncertainty to desperation to panic, and this is one of those years where panic is setting in," says Feal.
Michael O'Connell, a former first responder who has health issues from 9/11, says this is disheartening.
"We just want the politicians and the people that are in their elected positions to act," says O'Connell.
Feal is honoring Sept. 11 first responders who died from COVID-19 or have life-threatening health conditions from 9/11 by engraving their names on the memorial wall in Nesconset.