Citi Field will be activated as a COVID-19 vaccination hub beginning Wednesday, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio.
“This is one we’ve been hoping for for a long time, getting up and running,” de Blasio said Monday. “The focus will be on residents of the borough of Queens.”
The site will begin operation beginning at 10 a.m. for Queens residents with half reserved for TLC licensees and food delivery workers. Appointments are available at vaccinefinder.nyc.gov.
“The critical need for this mass vaccination site to prevent further loss could not be clearer. Queens is eternally grateful to the New York Mets for hitting this home run for their home borough, and we thank Mayor de Blasio for stepping up to the plate,” said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards. “This is a tremendous first step toward establishing vaccine equity. But with each day bringing a surge of individuals seeking a shot, there is still so much work to be done to both ensure that needles reach arms in a timely manner and that no one needs to leave their neighborhood to access a life-saving vaccine.”
The city’s announcement comes a day after more than two-dozen Queens elected officials, including Richards, urged the mayor and governor to open the Citi Field vaccine hub.
“We need our fair share of resources to ensure that our residents are vaccinated at a proportionate rate to that of our city counterparts,” Richards wrote.
The letter, prompted by the opening of the Yankee Stadium hub, was co-signed by Congress members Gregory Meeks, Carolyn Maloney and Grace Meng, as well as three state senators, 10 assembly members and 11 City Council members.
“As we know, Queens was the epicenter of the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic. As Queens borough president and elected officials, it is our chief responsibility to advocate for our borough and guarantee we receive the resources we need and deserve,” Richards wrote. “Queens is not receiving the same level of dedication in regards to new vaccine distributions, while being the most diverse borough in New York City and one of the most diverse places in the world, while adhering to the same mandate for fairness and social equity.”
The letter noted that Flushing had a positivity rate of 15.12 percent, the highest in the city from Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, according to city data. The officials also cited demographic data that revealed the disparity between the number of white, Black and Hispanic residents receiving vaccines, and urged the city and state to better target vulnerable residents.
“Citi Field itself is housed in Corona, another neighborhood we saw severely impacted by the pandemic last spring,” Richards wrote. “Queens is rising again out of the destruction that COVID-19 caused, but in order to build back better than ever, we need our fair share of resources to ensure that our residents are vaccinated at a proportional rate to that of our city counterparts. Too many lives have already been lost, so we cannot waste any further time in getting this vaccine to those who need it most.”
This story was updated at 1:23 p.m., on Monday, Feb. 8, 2021.