Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney joined forces with Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Costez in calling on New York City to bring the COVID-19 vaccine sites to where seniors live in several Queens locations.
In a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio, the two representatives urged him “Vaccine distribution should be easy, accessible, and free for all,” they wrote. “That is why we ask that you give full and fair consideration to adding on-site vaccination sites at each of the HANAC senior affordable housing residences. Enabling vaccine access for these senior living communities is vital to an equitable roll out of the COVID-19 vaccine.”
HANAC is a citywide social service organization that, in addition to offering services and programs for more than 30,000 seniors in the city, owns and operates 650 senior affordable housing units in five separate residential buildings across Queens. The two leaders requested that the de Blasio administration consider establishing vaccine distribution hubs at HANAC locations such as One Flushing, HANAC Corona Senior Residence, HANAC PCA Senior Residence, the George T. Douris Tower, and the Archbishop Iakovos Senior Residence.
“HANAC’s senior residences service primarily low-income elderly and disables residents,” Maloney and Ocasio-Cortez wrote. “These residents, our constituents, are part of the high-risk demographic for severe outcomes should they contract COVID-19, yet currently they do not have access to a convenient vaccination site. Not only are they in the highest priority group for receiving COVID-19 vaccines, but a large portion of these residents also have mental and physical disabilities that will make it exceptionally difficult for them to travel to the nearest vaccination site. Furthermore, many of these residents do not have the technological literacy necessary to reserve vaccination appointments for themselves online, despite their eligibility.”
They believe that offering on-site vaccination services at the senior affordable housing residences would largely eliminate barriers to access by providing residents with both physical proximity to a vaccination site and the opportunity for assistance with vaccine registration.