Queens elected officials demand priority access for local residents at Aqueduct Racetrack vaccination site

City data shows only 25 percent of those vaccinated at Aqueduct Racetrack are residents of New York City and elected officials are demanding greater access for their constituents. (Courtesy of governor’s office)

Southern Queens elected officials are calling on the state for priority access for local residents in the neighborhoods surrounding the Aqueduct Racetrack Vaccination Hub to receive appointments for COVID-19 inoculations.

Recently revealed city data showed that nearly 75 percent of the vaccines distributed at the state-run site inside the Aqueduct Racetrack facility have gone to people who live outside the city.

“Having the vaccination hub in this community is incredible, and we are grateful it is here, but the next step is making sure our neighbors have priority to a vaccine,” Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato said. “These communities were some of the hardest hit by the pandemic and still have some of the highest rates of COVID positivity in the entire city. We have come so far in fighting this pandemic, and the vaccine is our light at the end of the tunnel.”

Pheffer Amato and Assembly members Khaleel Anderson and Jenifer Rajkumar wrote a joint letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo requesting priority access for their constituents over non-residents of the city.

“Though there is high demand for COVID-19 vaccinations throughout New York City and New York state that will continue to grow in the weeks ahead, and I’m hopeful to see that increased numbers of New Yorkers are making appointments, stakes are high as we ensure that our community members living in the areas with the highest COVID-19 positivity rates have equitable access to vaccination appointments at sites in their own neighborhoods,” Anderson said. “I stand in solidarity with my colleagues to demand priority access for our constituents to vaccines at the Aqueduct Racetrack Vaccination Hub.”

The ZIP codes within the Assembly members’ districts include the neighborhoods of Glendale, Woodhaven, Richmond Hill, South Richmond Hill, Ozone Park, South Ozone Park, Howard Beach, Hamilton Beach, Broad Channel, Breezy Point, Neponsit,belle Harbor, Rockaway Park, Rockaway Beach, Hammels, Arverne, Edgemere, Far Rockaway, Brookdale, Rosedale and Meadowmere.

“I am grateful for the state’s placement of the Aqueduct Racetrack Vaccination Hub so close to my district. I am also grateful to the governor’s office for working with me every step of the way to help my constituents get vaccinated,” Rajkumar said. “My top priority is to ensure my constituents in south Queens have immediate access to the COVID-19 vaccine. This is doubly important because my district has some of the highest positivity rates in the city. I therefore join with my colleagues Assembly members Pheffer Amato and Anderson in requesting that our constituents here in the epicenter of the pandemic are given priority access to the Aqueduct Racetrack vaccination site. I look forward to continuing to work with the governor’s office to ensure access to the vaccine for my constituents.”

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