Feb. 9, 2021 By Allie Griffin
Northeast Queens lawmakers are again calling on City Hall to create COVID-19 vaccination sites in their districts.
A group of lawmakers and local advocates joined together Monday to demand the city add vaccine sites to the a stretch of northeast Queens that is completely void of such facilities.
There is not a single vaccine site “east of Union Street, Flushing or north of 82nd Road in Jamaica” — which leaves behind residents of Fresh Meadows, Bayside, Whitestone, Beechurst, Little Neck, Oakland Gardens, Glen Oaks and Douglaston, the legislators said.
Assembly Member Nily Rozic led the call at a press conference outside Commonpoint Queens Sam Field Center in Little Neck Monday.
“Once again, the City has forgotten about Northeast Queens,” Rozic said. “We understand the vaccine shortage has created logistical hurdles, but we cannot leave any communities behind when supply is eventually replenished and distributed.”
She said the city should have already identified locations that could serve as vaccination sites months ago.
Furthermore, the Citi Field mega vaccination site, which opens tomorrow, is too far for northeast Queens residents — especially the large number of seniors who live in the area — without adequate public transit options, Rozic added.
“The expectation that seniors must travel long distances for the chance of immunization is unacceptable,” she said.
The elected officials want permanent sites in place that would ease the travel burden for northeast Queens residents as vaccine supply becomes available.
The press conference Monday follows a letter the lawmakers sent to Mayor Bill de Blasio last month on the lack of vaccination sites in northeast Queens.
De Blasio has said the city’s lack of vaccine supply has stopped him from adding more sites — in northeast Queens and elsewhere.
However, Assembly Member Edward Braunstein said the lack of sites is inexcusable Monday.
“There is no excuse for the Mayor’s failure to open a single vaccination site in Northeast Queens, which has one of the largest percentages of senior citizens in the City,” Braunstein said. “Let’s be clear — Mayor de Blasio is putting the health and safety of our community at risk and it is simply unacceptable.”
State Sen. John Liu said that the city hasn’t come up with a plan to address the lack of sites either.
“It’s bad enough that there are no vaccination sites in northeast Queens, but it is simply mind-boggling that there doesn’t seem to be any concrete plans yet to set up a long-term vaccination site in our community…,” Liu said. “The Governor or the Mayor (or both) need to let us know how they will serve this community, as soon as possible.”