New York state, with the help of FEMA personnel, is preparing to stick up to 21,000 New Yorkers per week as the mass vaccination site at York College in Jamaica prepares to open on Thursday, Feb. 25.
Governor Andrew Cuomo was at York College on Wednesday formalizing the opening of the site meant to prioritize residents in the surrounding ZIP codes — but all is not well as vaccine supplies continue to lag behind the high demand across the country.
“First obstacle is we don’t have enough of the vaccine. That is true in this state, that is true in every state in the country. There is just not enough supply. President Biden walked in and the cupboard was bare for supply. To me, it’s the hangover of the President Trump legacy. He never handled COVID right,” Cuomo said. “So now, when it comes to the vaccine, my point is correct the injustice that you created during COVID, where you had more Blacks die, more Hispanics die, higher positivity rate, less testing. Make sure we get the vaccine to these communities.”
As Pfizer and Moderna were developing the vaccine and accepting purchases from interested nations, the Trump administration had reportedly passed up the opportunity reserve doses that would be critical for recovery. More obstacles came last week as a snowstorm pummeled Texas, entangling deliveries of the vaccine to states in logistical problems.
The south Queens campus is expected to be the largest in the state and eligible residents of Jamaica, South Richmond Hill, Springfield Gardens, Laurelton, St. Albans, Rosedale, Queens Village, South Ozone Park, Cambria Heights, Richmond Hill, Jamaica, Queens Village and Hollis will get to take the vaccine before all others until Saturday when the state widens the availability to the entirety of each respective borough.
From Wednesday until Saturday, Feb. 26, all appointments at the new site will be reserved for residents in the following ZIP codes: 11411, 11412, 11413, 11418, 11419, 11420, 11422, 11427, 11428, 11429, 11432, 11433, 11434, 11435, 11436, 11439, 11691, 11692 and 11693. Appointments can be made here.
On Sunday, Feb. 27, the vaccination site will begin accepting appointments from all eligible Queens residents.
“This facility is the largest mass vaccination site in the state of New York. This facility, Medgar Evers in Brooklyn, 21,000 vaccines per week. The largest in the state,” Cuomo said. “And this is the first in the state that says we’re going to bring the vaccine to the community that needs it most, and we’re going to give that community priority to get the vaccine. So, the community surrounding your college has a priority for the appointments here at York College. Between now and Saturday morning, appointments will only be filled for those people in ZIP codes that are surrounding this area.”
The MTA will launch a pilot program starting March 1 to transport people from the Edgemere Houses in Queens and Pink Houses in Brooklyn to these vaccination sites between 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.
Additional reporting by Jacob Kaye.