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nick caracappa

Frank Vene, and his daughter Laraine Kelly, were able to be vaccinated at Suffolk County Community College last week, with help from Legislator Nick Caracappa. Photo by Kimberly Brown

By Kimberly Brown

Finding it difficult to make and obtain a COVID-19 vaccine appointment, 101-year-old WWII veteran Frank Vene was finally able to receive his Pfizer vaccination last week with the help of Suffolk County Legislator Nick Caracappa (R-Selden).

As with many seniors, Vene and his 78-year-old daughter, Laraine Kelly, did not have access to the technology needed to book a vaccine, and had to rely on their friends and a family member to help them make an appointment — all to no avail. 

“Neither I nor my sister have a computer,” Kelly said. “We’ve been trying to make an appointment for months, but nothing was available.”

Even with the help of a family member, trying to book an appointment online became nearly impossible, as available spaces would fill up within minutes. They were not able to reach anyone over the phone due to disconnections or being placed on hold for hours. 

Seeing the difficulty Vene and his daughter were having trying to book a vaccine appointment, a neighbor of Vene’s called Caracappa and voiced their concern for the veteran. He took immediate action.

“It was a frustrating process for them, but due to the diligence of our office of constantly monitoring the county’s website, we were able to hit it right and got two appointments scheduled for Mr. Vene and his daughter,” Caracappa said. “We were very fortunate to get them, because 99% of the time there is no availability.”

Despite feeling nervous about the vaccine, Vene expressed his excitement about receiving it because he will now be able to see his grandchildren again. The last time he was able to see any family was in March of 2020. 

On Wednesday, March 10, he finally received his first dose of the Pfizer vaccine and gave a thumbs-up while nurse Daria Castrogivanni finished up the rest of his paperwork.

“I thank Mr. Caracappa 100% because without his help we would’ve never got here,” Kelly said.