Arleene Meertens saw the worst of the COVID pandemic as a patient care technician at Kingsbrook Hospital in Flatbush. During Brooklyn’s first wave, she watched patient after patient struggle to pull oxygen into their damaged lungs, before turning grey and passing away. She could do little more than hold their hands and hope their final moments felt less lonely. 

But when it came time to get her COVID-19 vaccine, the drug that leaders promised would finally banish the pain of the pandemic, she held back.

“This is my body, this is my temple, and no one [has] a right to force me to do what I don’t want to do,” she said, adding that maybe in four or five years, she would have considered it. 

Arleene Meertens saw the worst of the COVID pandemic as a patient care technician at Kingsbrook Hospital in Flatbush. During Brooklyn’s first wave, she watched patient after patient struggle to pull oxygen into their damaged lungs, before turning grey and passing away. She could do little more than hold […]

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