Korean Community Services in Bayside becomes permanent COVID-19 vaccination site

NY:QBP tours vaccination site at KCS in Bayside
The Korean Community Services building in Bayside is now a permanent COVID-19 vaccination site. (Photo by Gabriele Holtermann)

The Korean Community Services (KCS) center in Bayside will now be a permanent vaccination site for northeast Queens residents, months after the community voiced a need for a location in the “vaccination desert.”

Northeast Queens Councilman Paul Vallone confirmed that KCS secured a contract with the city of New York and will be run by Centers for Urgent Care. Starting immediately, the site will offer more than 160 appointments a day for individuals who are eligible.

“We have one of the largest populations of seniors in the city and have been advocating from day one for our own dedicated vaccination site. This is a tremendous relief and victory for everyone in northeast Queens and we thank the mayor for getting this done. Having KCS as our partner once again is a perfect location and provider to bring the life-saving vaccine to our residents,” said Vallone.

Vallone and other northeast Queens leaders had been advocating for a permanent vaccination site in the area, especially for the higher-than-average senior population. The city agreed to open KCS as a popup site back in February when 500 area residents got the opportunity to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Despite the lack of a permanent site, KCS employees have helped northeast Queens residents secure appointments at other Queens sites like Citi Field.

“Finding an appointment has only been the first of many challenges our community has been facing in getting vaccinated. We’re very thankful to be able to open our doors again to serve more of our neighbors, especially seniors, who simply do not have the means to get to and from vaccine sites so far away from their homes. We thank the mayor and Council member Vallone for responding to this critical need in northeast Queens,” said Linda Lee, president and CEO of Korean Community Services.

In addition to Vallone, Queens lawmakers and leaders celebrated the announcement.

“I am pleased to learn that northeast Queens, an area with one of the largest senior populations in the city, will soon see a long-awaited, permanent COVID-19 vaccination site at Korean Community Services in Bayside,” said Assemblyman Edward Braunstein. “Equitable and accessible vaccine distribution is a critical part of New York City’s continued fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. As we work towards New York’s recovery, I urge all northeast Queens residents to make an appointment and get the vaccine as they become eligible. Thank you to KCS for working with the City to make this permanent site a reality and to Mayor de Blasio for responding to the needs of our community.”

KCS, located at 203-05 32nd Ave., will be open from 9 a.m. t0 7 p.m., seven days a week. More appointments will become available as the city’s supply increases. Starting on March 25, eligible New Yorkers can make an appointment at nyc.gov/vaccinefinder or by calling 877-VAX-4NYC.