The Story Behind the Photo

A nursing project manager explains how she captured a poignant moment between two emergency department staff members as they received their COVID-19 vaccine.

Two healthcare workers holding hands while receiving the COVID-19 vaccine
Two healthcare workers holding hands while receiving the COVID-19 vaccine

Hailey Koop, a nursing project manager, was standing outside the vaccine clinic at NewYork-Presbyterian Allen Hospital when she saw two healthcare workers turn around and hold hands as they prepared to get their COVID-19 vaccinations.

“I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, I need to take a picture of this,’” says Koop, who arrived at work that day at 5:30 a.m. to help with the vaccine distribution. “I whipped out my phone, ran in, and snapped it. It was a moving moment.”

The two NewYork-Presbyterian Allen Hospital staffers pictured, Andria Coopersmith, an emergency medicine physician assistant, and Dr. Emmagene Worley, an emergency medicine physician, were among the first NewYork-Presbyterian employees to receive the vaccine on December 15. “The second I saw them holding hands I thought, ‘I’m going to get a picture, but I bet they’ll drop their hands,’” she says. “But they held hands for a really long time, which was even sweeter.”

Nursing project manager Hailey Koop was helping distribute the COVID-19 vaccine when she captured a poignant moment between two healthcare workers.

Koop, who works at NewYork-Presbyterian Allen Hospital and NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center, says she doesn’t know the two employees well, but she felt the magnitude of the moment between the colleagues.

“It’s been a really hard year for everyone,” says Koop. “I’m sure it was an emotional moment for the employees in the picture. It was emotional for me reflecting back on the year we had.

“It’s been a whirlwind of a week. When I got home from work, I could barely keep my eyes open, but it was really cool to be there and a part of it. And I’m proud to have captured this special moment.”

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