First of four vaccine hubs in Queens opens at Hillcrest High School

hillcrest vaccine hub
Photo courtesy of New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene

Several COVID-19 vaccine hubs have opened in the city this week — with the first in Queens established in Jamaica — as part of the city’s efforts to vaccinate all eligible New Yorkers.

New York City’s Health Department opened a hub at Hillcrest High School, located at 160-05 Highland Ave., on Sunday, Jan. 10.

The mass vaccination site will be open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., and will accept appointments online. The hubs will start with the capacity to vaccinate a total of 5,000 to 7,000 people per day.

“In order to get the vaccination traffic we want, we will need to build on-ramps,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Dave. A. Chokshi. “Facilities like these will be a route to immunity for thousands of New Yorkers. We need more New Yorkers to be eligible for the vaccine in order to quicken the pace of vaccination for the entire city.”

Chokshi said starting this week, the city will ramp up to a total of 15 vaccine hubs, including three more in Queens, to serve over 100,000 New Yorkers weekly. This will add to the more than 125 vaccine locations already up and running.

Three vaccine hubs opening in Queens on Jan. 15 will be located at August Martin High School at 156-10 Baisley Blvd., in Jamaica; Beach Channel Educational Campus at 100-00 Beach Channel Drive in Rockaway; and Aviation High School at 45-30 36th St. in Long Island City.

The hubs are operated by Health Department staff and trained volunteers through the Medical Reserve Corps.

Before an appointment, New Yorkers must complete the NYS COVID-19 Vaccine Form in order to get vaccinated. New York state requires the provider administering the vaccine to check completion of the form. Eligible New Yorkers will need to bring proof of employment, such as an employee ID card, a letter from an employer or affiliated organization, or a recent pay stub.

The state currently has a five-stage vaccination distribution plan. New Yorkers who are currently eligible for the vaccine under 1A include high-risk healthcare workers, staff and residents at long-term care facilities and other frontline staff in patient-facing roles.

Starting on Monday, Jan. 11, New Yorkers in 1B, which includes first responders and those ages 75 and older, are eligible to make appointments.

More than 100,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses were administered in the city last week, surpassing the city’s initial goal, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Monday.

De Blasio visited Hillcrest High School on Monday, and was joined by Dr. Chokshi and Queens Borough President Donovan Richards.

“After one vaccination at Hillcrest High School in Queens, a medical assistant named Valeria Correa Gomez told a reporter that she took the vaccine to keep her friends and family safe,” de Blasio said during a press conference on Monday. “It’s science, she said. I trust science. I love science. Valeria, I could not agree more.”

Credit: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office.
Credit: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office.

There are currently more than two dozen sites administering the COVID-19 vaccine to eligible New Yorkers in Queens. Some of those sites include Statcare at their Astoria, Jackson Heights and Jamaica locations.

The mayor announced on Thursday, Jan. 7, that the city is also considering using Queens Theatre as a vaccination site. In a statement following the announcement, the Queens Theatre said it is working with officials to determine logistics.

“We are proud that our facilities in Flushing Meadows Corona Park are being considered to aid in ending the coronavirus pandemic in New York City,” the Queens Theatre statement reads. “We embrace the opportunity to support and promote the health, safety and recovery of our city and community through this vaccination effort. We look forward to providing a welcoming, accessible space where eligible New Yorkers will be able to go to get the free, safe and easy COVID-19 vaccine.”

On Friday, Jan. 8, the mayor announced five more sites, specifically for the city’s frontline workers, will open in each borough in anticipation of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s approval of phase 1B.

In Queens, that site will be open at John Adams High School at 01-01 Rockaway Blvd. in Ozone Park.

The Health Department has established the NYC COVID-19 Vaccine Finder for New Yorkers to search for nearby locations that are currently administering the COVID-19 vaccine.

“Vaccine Finder is a one-stop shop where eligible New Yorkers can find the closest vaccine provider to them and book an appointment with one click of a button,” said de Blasio. “That means the COVID-19 will be safe, free and easy to get for all New Yorkers. If you are eligible, please call 877-VAX-4NYC or visit nyc.gov/VaccineFinder to reserve your appointment today.”

This story was updated on Jan. 12 at 12 p.m.