The Mount Sinai Health System is joining medical centers across the United States in a grassroots effort to encourage public participation in vaccinations against COVID-19. The vaccination challenge known as “This Jab’s For You” will also honor the lives lost during the global pandemic and the countless health care workers, families, and loved ones who have been impacted by the spread of the disease.
“This is a time to reflect and heal; a time to remember those we lost and celebrate the lives of those that have overcome great obstacles and heartache,” said Steven Arsht, MD, Assistant Professor of Orthopedics at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and one of the leaders of the campaign. “The vaccine is our way out and we are encouraging people to get vaccinated to protect themselves, their loved ones, and the people around them. Getting vaccinated can save a life.”
Dr. Arsht was inspired to help start the vaccination challenge as a tribute to his brother-in-law Louis Sarrel, who lost his battle with COVID-19 in April just three days after his 58th birthday and shortly after going into remission from treatment for lymphoma. The goal is to increase COVID-19 vaccine education and enthusiasm, helping people overcome feelings of “vaccine hesitancy,” especially among communities of color. Dr. Arsht, who treated COVID-19 patients while working in the intensive care unit during the peak of the pandemic, received his vaccination shots in January in memory of his brother-in-law, whom he called a “kind soul” and “amazing husband, father, and friend.”
“Mount Sinai is honored to be the first health system to join this important campaign,” said Jeremy Boal, MD, Executive Vice President and Chief Clinical Officer of Mount Sinai Health System. “We all play a role in protecting our loved ones, neighbors, and community by wearing a mask, maintaining social distance, and now, getting vaccinated. Steve and his family are courageous in their mission to honor lives lost and while fighting this pandemic. We commend them and encourage others to join us in this campaign.”
Dr. Arsht noted that the pandemic has taken the lives of hundreds of thousands, devastated the economy, disrupted school and work, limited travel, and inflamed mental health issues with a rise in substance abuse and suicide. “People cannot see their elderly parents for fear of getting
them sick and grandparents cannot hug their grandchildren,” he said. “This cannot go on. We know—each and every one of us—that we have the power to put an end to this pandemic. The vaccines, along with social distancing and wearing masks, are the best tool to stop this pandemic.”
Giving a space for the public to pay tribute to loved ones they miss, the challenge encourages people to use the hashtag #ThisJabsForYou and tag @thisjabsforyou as they share their vaccination stories and photos on social media. A template is available online to download and fill out listing the name of the person the vaccination is in remembrance.
“This Jab’s For You” is also partnering with New Jersey-based teen artist Hannah Ernst who is creating digital portraits of those who have succumbed to the disease titled “Faces of COVID Victims.” The portraits include silhouettes of the loved one placed upon a yellow heart.