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Brooklyn Pharmacist Hand-Delivers COVID Vaccine to LGBTQ Seniors

by Matthew Wexler

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Thursday March 18, 2021

As disparities in access to the COVID-19 vaccine continue to reverberate throughout the world, one Brooklyn pharmacist decided to take matters into his own hands.

Ambar Keluskar, a pharmacist at Rossi Pharmacy in New York, noticed a decline in vaccine takers despite the location's supply. Advertising on social media didn't help either, so Keluskar took to the streets, vaccines in hand.

According to The New York Times, Keluskar received a tip from an employee at State Senator Jabari Brisport's office about Stonewall House, the newly opened affordable housing complex for LGBTQ seniors.

George Berry, a Stonewall resident, helped organize the effort to reach the many home bound residents who had yet to be vaccinated. According to The Times, one resident had been unsuccessfully trying to schedule an appointment for weeks until receiving an on-site vaccine.

Keluskar's efforts come at a vital time as recent reports indicate alarming health disparities for LGBTQ seniors.

According to the collaborative project between AARP and SAGE, 23% of LGBTQ New Yorkers of all ages point to inadequate insurance coverage as the most significant barrier to healthcare, and 21% of LGBTQ people aged 50 and up — have provided friends with care, which is three and a half times that of non-LGBTQ people.

Resilience continues to prevail, though. As EDGE previously reported, LGBTQ senior organizations around the country have advocated for greater healthcare access, mental health awareness and social programs to support queer elders.

Matthew Wexler is EDGE's Senior Editor, Features & Branded Content. More of his writing can be found at www.wexlerwrites.com. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @wexlerwrites.