New COVID-19 vaccination hub coming to York College in Jamaica: Cuomo

50930232962_e14b0973c5_k (1)
Governor Andrew Cuomo announces a new COVID-19 mass vaccination site will open at York College this month. (Photo courtesy of the governor’s office)

A new COVID-19 mass vaccination hub will open at York College in Jamaica the week of Feb. 24, becoming the largest distribution center in the state, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday.

The vaccination site will be for Queens residents only and will target communities and populations historically underserved by the traditional health care system that have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

The York College site will be established in a partnership between the state and federal government and distribute 3,000 vaccinations a day. The federal government will provide the vaccine and staff. Another mass vaccination site will be located at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn.

“COVID created low tide in America, and all the ugliness, structural racism, injustice and disparity lurking beneath the surface was exposed,” Cuomo said. “We know that communities of color suffered the most and from day one we’ve made the fair and equitable distribution of the vaccine a priority. These two new sites are going to make a dramatic impact on some of our hardest-hit communities and further bolster the work we’ve already been doing on the ground to get shots in arms, and we’re so thankful to the Biden administration for their partnership in making it happen.”

Cuomo added that the state will still need to conduct outreach programs to build trust in the vaccine in communities that have been hit the hardest by the pandemic yet have significantly lower vaccination statistics.

“Through the new vaccination sites we are announcing today, we are taking the response directly to the communities that need it most,” White House COVID-19 Equity Task Force Chair Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith said. “We’re implementing a comprehensive equity strategy to vaccinate our underserved and hardest to reach communities that also includes pharmacies, community health centers and mobile clinics as well as efforts to build vaccine confidence amongst hesitant communities. We will ensure that no one is left behind in our response.”

Dr. Berenecea Eanes, the college’s president, said that she was “pleased to support” the effort to designate York as a vaccination site.

“We at York College are happy for the opportunity to serve our borough, city and state in the Herculean task of vaccinating New Yorkers,” Eanes said. “I want to thank Governor Cuomo for recognizing York as an important resource, not just an outstanding institution of higher learning, but also as an important community resource for social justice. We are ready to help in the fight against the coronavirus virus.”

The vaccination hub will be located in the college’s Health and Physical Education, known as “The Gym.” The site will open on Wednesday, Feb. 24.

Meanwhile, Mayor Bill de Blasio rode the 7 train to Citi Field to finally open the city’s new mass vaccination hub which will serve eligible Queens residents, along with priority appointments for TLC and food serve workers from across the five boroughs. For its first week in operation, 200 appointments will be available each day, but the operation will expand rapidly.

“By next week, we’ll be able to do 4,000 doses a week at this site, but if we have enough vaccine supply, we will be doing 5,000 doses a day here at Citi Field,” de Blasio said. “We’ll be able to protect tens of thousands of people each week, here at Citi Field.”

Eligible New Yorkers can make an appointment at nyc.gov/vaccinefinder or by calling 877-VAX-4NYC.

“The race against COVID-19 urgently demands that we bring the COVID-19 vaccine to all New Yorkers, and the opening of this massive new site at Citi Field will unlock more access to the vaccine for both the residents of Queens and for our frontline essential workers who have kept our city going throughout this pandemic,” NYC Test & Trace Corps Executive Director Dr. Ted Long said. “As the supply of vaccine increases, this new site will bolster our ability to vaccinate as many New Yorkers as quickly as possible.”