Citi Field Set To Open As COVID Vaccine Mega Site For Queens Communities Hit Hard By Pandemic

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — In the push to distribute the coronavirus vaccine, Citi Field is getting ready to step up to the plate.

Wednesday, the home of the Mets will become a vaccination mega site.

Felicia Galy was out in the St. Albans section of Queens on Tuesday, handing out PPE and getting the word out about the COVID vaccine.

“And when we do come in contact with some of the seniors that are interested, we’ve been taking their information or sometimes we go as far as to set up emails for them so they can go online and register,” Galy told CBS2’s Aundrea Cline-Thomas.

In-person outreach deep in hard-hit communities is part of the city’s strategy for equitable distribution of the shots. So is Wednesday’s opening of a mass vaccination site at Citi Field, designated specifically for Queens residents, TLC drivers and food service workers.

“We do need to keep making moves that will encourage equity and address disparity, but it’s all against the backdrop of fundamental lack of supply,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

At Citi Field, only 800 doses will be available in the first week. That’s a stark contrast from the 15,000 doses provided at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, which opened as a mass vaccination site on Friday.

“That specific plan for Yankee Stadium was one developed with the state. I want to see more vaccine shifted, of course, to the Citi Field site,” de Blasio said.

There’s no denying Queens was the epicenter of the virus.

“We must not forget the smaller sites in communities — churches, other faith-based organizations, schools,” said C. Virginia Fields, with the National Black Leadership Commission on Health.

Yet in Queens, it remains a scramble the few appointments for a shot. “For those who want it, let’s make sure the system does not serve as an impediment to them receiving the vaccine,” Fields said.

CBS2 reached out to the governor’s office to see if more vaccinations will be made available for the Citi Field site. They said the site is not limited to 800 doses and “the real culprit is a lack of supply from the feds – which the Biden Admin is working to fix.”

They also noted New York State has a mass vaccination site at the Aqueduct Race Track in Queens and the state has done a number of pop-up community vaccine sites in the borough.

Meanwhile, the LIRR announced trains will begin stopped at the Mets-Willets Point station starting Wednesday morning. That will last as long as the vaccination site remains open.

By Aundrea Cline-Thomas CBS News
February 9, 2021 at 8:31 pm

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