Despite the Big Apple distributing doses only to frontline healthcare workers and the elderly, many of these patients, who live on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, are hoping their physicians can fast track the shots for them.
Additionally, some have even asked if they can join their doctors’ practices as an employee to jump the line, according to The New York Times.
And one plastic surgeon who got the vaccine said she wanted to show her clients that the shot is safe – but that meant she went ahead of those 75 and older as well as the NYPD.
Concierge doctors Dr Edward Goldberg (left), of the Upper East Side and Dr Alexander Golberg (right) of the Hamptons have been receiving calls from patients asking to get the coronavirus vaccine. Some have even asked to join their physicians’ practices because they believe it will qualify them for the jab sooner
Dr Lara Devgan, a Park Avenue plastic surgeon, got the shot last week (pictured) to convince her clients that it is safe, but this pushed the surgeon, who does not qualify as a frontline worker, ahead of other high-risk groups such as the elderly and the NYPD
One of those physicians who has been receiving nonstop calls is Dr Edward Goldberg, a concierge doctor on the Upper East Side.
Concierge medicine, also known as retainer medicine, is when a patient pays an annual fee or retainer and receives enhanced care, or more access to doctors, in return.
In Goldberg’s case, patients pay $20,000 per year, reported The Times.
Some of Goldberg’s patients had called him after returning from islands or ski resorts ill with COVID-19.
But others have been asking if he can get them an immunization appointment.
Some patients have even asked to become employees at Goldberg’s office in hopes they will qualify for the inoculation sooner.
Goldberg told The Times that he has told patients he cannot do that or he will be subject to large penalties.
New York Gov Andrew Cuomo (D) said anyone who vaccinates a person out of the state-designated order will face an up to $1 million fine.
Additionally, practitioners could lose their right to practice medicine.
‘What Cuomo did really protects me when it comes to these pushy concierge types because I can say that I cannot risk the fines and loss of license,’ Goldberg told The Times.
But he’s not the only one.
Mark Golberg, who helps with his father Dr Alexander Golberg, aka Dr Hamptons, run concierge practice in the Hamptons (no relation to Edward Goldberg) – where rich New Yorkers have summer homes – has been experiencing the same push from his clients.
‘I’ve had people calling me left and right,’ he told The Times.
‘I say that we don’t even have the vaccine yet, and then they say: “Well, I’m the first guy you’re giving it to when you get it,” and I say: “Yeah, uh-huh, sure.”‘
And then there are doctors who have jumped the line themselves.
Dr Lara Devgan, a Park Avenue plastic surgeon, posted a video of herself being vaccinated on Instagram last week, The Times reported.
This is despite New York’s vaccination Phase 1A only including patient-facing healthcare workers and nursing home residents and staff.
But Devgan said some of her patients are worried that the vaccine will cause temporary facial swelling where they have face fillers and have been considering foregoing the shot.
She told The Times she wanted to convince her clients that the jab is safe.
‘As someone who performs injectable facial fillers – who likes them and uses them myself – I believe the vaccine is safe and the concept about worrying about how your face looks is not a reason not to get the vaccine,’ she told the newspaper