April 12, 2021 By Christina Santucci
Several Queens elected officials have called on city and state officials to open a mass vaccination site for residents of Middle Village, Glendale, Maspeth and parts of Ridgewood and Woodhaven.
U.S. Rep. Grace Meng – along with state Sens. Joseph Addabbo and Assemblymembers Catherine Nolan, Jenifer Rajkumar and Brian Barnwell, and Councilmember Robert Holden – wrote to the mayor and governor on Friday calling for a site.
“We have heard from many local stakeholders regarding vaccine access issues for communities west of Woodhaven Boulevard. Due to the limited number of vaccination sites in this area, we are urging your office to establish a mass vaccination site in this underrepresented region of Queens County,” the legislators wrote.
Several smaller vaccinations sites at pharmacies are located in the neighborhoods – while mass vaccinations sites, such as the ones at Aqueduct Racetrack, York College and Citi Field, have opened in other parts of the borough.
The city was also expected to announce Queens Center mall in Elmhurst as a vaccination site Monday morning, the New York Post reported.
The elected officials said they want vaccinations to be more accessible for residents of Middle Village, Glendale, Maspeth and parts of Ridgewood and Woodhaven.
Rajkumar explained in a statement that a larger site in that community would “ease the burden on seniors, families and workers who incur significant time, effort and expense to travel to sites that are far away.”
“In light of many mass vaccination sites being established across the five boroughs, and an increase in vaccine supply, our constituents in western Queens must have a more local vaccination site to continue our city’s battle against COVID-19,” the elected officials wrote.
Meng posted the letters on social media, and wrote, “Everybody deserves easy access to the vaccine and that includes those we represent.”
In response to her post, Middle Village Village resident Susan Maller thanked Meng and the other elected officials for making the request.
Maller and her brother, Fred, told the Queens Post that they each spent $140 on car fare for two roundtrips to be vaccinated at York College – the only location they were able to find appointments. They were not able to secure spots on the same day.
“We were up at 4 a.m. I was on my laptop. She was on the desktop computer, trying to get appointments,” Fred Maller said.
For many people the trip – and the expense – would be a hardship, Susan Maller said.
“The fact that we had to go all the way over there is completely ridiculous,” she said. “Where we are in Middle Village, there was nothing.”
City data published Sunday morning showed that vaccination rates in Maspeth, Woodhaven and Glendale and Ridgewood were lower than the borough’s average rate.
About 39 percent of adults in Maspeth, 35 percent in Glendale and Ridgewood and 37 percent in Woodhaven had received at least one vaccine dose – compared to 42 percent of adults in Queens. Meanwhile, Middle Village matched the boroughwide average