Queens Theatre is no longer in the COVID-19 mass vaccination business before a single inoculation could be administered at its Flushing Meadows Corona Park location.
The city had planned to deliver vaccines at the facility before the Mets agreed to make Citi Field available as a 24/7 mass distribution site on the north side of Roosevelt Avenue.
“Queens Theatre is delighted that our neighbors, Citi Field, will be able to serve as a mass vaccination clinic,” the organization said in a statement. “Because of our close proximity, Queens Theatre will not serve as a site at this time. We will continue to embrace all opportunities to support and promote the health, safety and recovery of our city, including through our programming and outreach.”
Both Queens Theatre and Citi Field are near the Corona, Elmhurst and Jackson Heights neighborhoods that were ravaged during the first wave of the pandemic last spring becoming known as the “epicenter of the epicenter” in New York City.
“It is ‘amazin’ news, you might say. And it’s such a welcome moment for the people of this city, particularly for the people in Queens,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said. “We are going to have a 24/7, mega-vaccination site at Citi Field. This is going to be fantastic.”
The mayor predicted they would be able to distribute up to 7,000 vaccines a day at Citi Field once it becomes operational on Jan. 25.
“We know the suffering that’s going on with COVID and any way the organization could help support this effort, we were going to do it,” Mets Owner Steve Cohen said. “You know, we had talked about being involved in our communities and I can’t think of any way that’s more important than what this effort is. And so, you know, we can be reached by subways, by trains, by highway. We’re the intersection of Queens. And like the mayor said, you know, we’ll vaccinate anybody in the New York area. The goal is to [get] the vaccine in people’s arms so we can get this crisis over with and get back to living a normal life.”
The vaccination location at Citi Field adds to the city’s growing network of vaccine access points citywide, making it easier for eligible New Yorkers to access the safe, free COVID-19 vaccine, according to Deputy Mayor Melanie Hartzog.
“With more and more New Yorkers determined eligible by the state to be vaccinated all the time, we’re focused on continuing to ramp up our capacity for vaccination to meet demand,” Hartzog said. “With vaccine supply very limited, however, we urge New Yorkers scheduling appointments to be patient – and new sites like Citi Field will help us deliver on our promise of vaccines for all.”