Two new COVID-19 vaccination sites are opening in Jamaica and Queens Village.
The Allen Community Senior Center, located at 166-01 Linden Blvd. in Jamaica, will serve as a pop-up vaccination site beginning on Saturday, Feb. 20, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday. The center is one of 13 community-based pop-up vaccination sites coming online this week at community centers, public housing complexes and cultural centers.
In a statement to QNS, Borough President Donovan Richards said Queens is grateful for the Allen Community Senior Center and New York state’s partnership in establishing the pop-up vaccine site in Jamaica, an initiative they’re looking to replicate across the borough — especially in hard-hit communities of color who have yet to receive their fair share of the life-saving vaccines.
“We’re going to beat COVID-19 from the ground up. This means partnering with our valued community-based organizations and religious institutions to build public trust in the vaccination process and get as many shots in arms as possible,” Richards said.
These sites are expected to vaccinate 3,850 people throughout the week with more sites coming online every week, Cuomo said.
Since Jan. 15, more than 90 community-based pop-up sites have enabled approximately 42,500 New Yorkers to receive their first COVID-19 vaccine dose. As has been the case with previous pop-up sites, these sites will be re-established in three weeks to administer second doses.
“COVID impacted communities of color at a much higher rate, and it exposed the inequalities that have existed in our nation’s health care system for decades,” Cuomo said. “From day one we have made the fair and equitable distribution of the vaccine a top priority, but two issues still exist, especially in our Black and brown communities — accessibility and skepticism.”
The pop-up sites, Cuomo says, will allow New York’s Vaccine Equity Task Force to work with local leaders and trusted voices in those communities that were hit the hardest by COVID, helping to ensure access to and instill confidence in the vaccine, while also furthering their goal to vaccinate every single New Yorker.
Moving forward as the federal vaccine supply increases, New York will continue to establish these sites at all 33 NYCHA senior housing developments, which house more than 7,600 seniors. Pop-up locations will also continue to be established at other public housing complexes statewide, as well as at more than 300 churches and cultural centers which have volunteered to house these sites through Cuomo’s Vaccine Equity Task Force.
Meanwhile, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced late Wednesday night that Martin Van Buren High School, located at 230-17 Hillside Ave. in Queens Village, will be a COVID-19 vaccination site.
The site was scheduled to open Thursday, Feb. 18, but has been delayed due to a vaccine supply shortage and shipments delayed by storms, de Blasio said in a statement.
“I cannot be clearer: we have the infrastructure in place to deliver half a million doses per week. All that’s missing is the supply to get it done,” de Blasio said. “We need our pharmaceutical companies to step-up and give us the doses we need to vaccinate the people of our city. There is not a moment to waste.”
After an initial delay moved the opening date of the site to Friday, Feb. 19, it was delayed further on Thursday as the snowstorm slowed down the city’s weekly delivery of the vaccine. The Martin Van Buren site isn’t expected to open until Sunday, Feb. 21 at the earliest, according to the mayor.
Councilman Barry Grodenchik, who has been advocating to bring more accessible vaccination sites to residents in eastern Queens, said he is delighted that the site will soon be open and will provide a much-needed resource, especially for seniors.
“I thank the mayor for listening to the concerns of the residents of eastern Queens and their elected officials,” Grodenchik said.
Additional reporting by Jacob Kaye.