Northeast Queens lawmakers call on mayor to open accessible vaccine sites for seniors

FILE PHOTO: A woman receives the first of two Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine jabs, at Guy’s Hospital in London
Victoria Jones/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

Six northeast Queens lawmakers are expressing their concerns in a letter sent to Mayor Bill de Blasio on Tuesday, Jan. 12, regarding the difficulty seniors are having making appointments due to the lack of vaccination sites and support in locating them in the districts.

Senator John Liu, Assembly members Nily Rozic and Ed Braunstein, and Council members Barry Grodenchik, Paul Vallone and Peter Koo are urging de Blasio to coordinate with them as soon as possible to identify potential locations in northeast Queens. 

“As of today, there are no sites east of Union Street, Flushing or north of 82nd Road in Jamaica. This absence of vaccination sites makes it exponentially burdensome for high-risk seniors in our districts,” the lawmakers said in a letter. “Our constituents in northeast Queens need a vaccination site that is more accessible to them than what is currently being offered.” 

As it stands with phases 1A and 1B underway, vulnerable populations are struggling to find available appointments to receive the first dose of the vaccine, according to the lawmakers. Now that eligibility has opened allowing seniors aged 65+ to schedule appointments, seniors aged 75+ have only been given one day of priority access to a system that is severely overwhelmed. 

“The current process has already proven difficult for many of our neighbors and we do not want these New Yorkers left behind,” the lawmakers said. 

Although the city is opening a 24/7 vaccination hub at the Citi Field stadium, located at 41 Seaver Way in Flushing, the lawmakers said, “It is not within reach for most seniors, especially when travel options to the stadium are limited during the pandemic.”  

The lawmakers said they’re ready and willing to work together with the mayor to identify locations that can serve as vaccination sites.

“While we understand that vaccine supply is limited and more locations are slated to open in the coming weeks, it is critical that we get sites up and running to ensure ease of access as the vaccination rollout continues,” the lawmakers said.