Feb. 5, 2021 By Allie Griffin
The COVID-19 vaccination site at Citi Field will open in “a matter of days,” Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Friday.
The 24/7 “megasite” was supposed to open the week of Jan. 25, but was delayed due to the city’s shortage of vaccines.
The ball field will have the capacity to vaccinate 5,000 to 7,000 New Yorkers each day once open.
While many Queens lawmakers welcome its impending arrival, critics argue that it will be of little use to many seniors. The stadium has limited public transit options and many seniors don’t drive.
Furthermore, its opening, they say, will not fill the void in northeast Queens, where there isn’t a single COVID-19 vaccination site.
There are zero sites in neighborhoods like Fresh Meadows, Bayside, Whitestone, Beechurst, Little Neck, Oakland Gardens, Glen Oaks and Douglaston, according to the city’s vaccinate site finder.
Several elected officials representing northeast Queens pleaded with the city last month to open vaccine sites in their districts.
“We write to you expressing our concern and disappointment with the lack of vaccination sites in the districts we represent,” State Sen. John Liu; Assembly Members Nily Rozic and Edward Braunstein and Council Members Barry Grodenchik, Paul Vallone and Peter Koo wrote in a Jan. 12 letter to de Blasio.
The city hasn’t added any vaccine sites to the area since the letter and the impact is being felt in the communities.
A Fresh Meadows resident complained to de Blasio about the lack of vaccine sites on the Brian Lehrer show this morning.
Emil, a 69-year-old cancer survivor who didn’t reveal his last name, said he was forced to go to Long Island to get a vaccine appointment.
“Why do I have to travel 30 miles each way to go get an appointment for a vaccine when I live in New York City?” Emil asked de Blasio. “You mentioned that you opened up 17 pop-up centers throughout the city. None of them, none of them are in northeast Queens.”
De Blasio told Emil there are more sites coming, but didn’t specify when or where.
“I do want to make sure that folks in northeast Queens get served better,” he said. “There are more sites coming.”
De Blasio blamed the city’s inadequate supply of the COVID-19 vaccine for the lack of vaccine sites.