Two new sites, each injecting 3,000 people a day with a COVID-19 vaccine, will open in Brooklyn and Queens later this month, state officials announced on Wednesday. They will start to receive visitors the week of February 24th.
“It is the largest vaccination site that we have ever opened, and it’s for Queens residents, as Yankee Stadium is for Bronx residents, as the Medgar Ever College site will be for the Brooklyn residents,” Governor Andrew Cuomo told reporters in a virtual briefing on Wednesday.
The federal government will provide separate allocations for the sites, which are focused in neighborhoods where more than half the residents are Black in hopes of overcoming racial disparities in the vaccine rollout. State data shows one in three Black New Yorkers over 65 or eligible as an essential worker has gotten the COVID-19 vaccine. Latino communities are also getting about half the expected share for those two eligible groups. Large gaps in vaccine uptake exist for Black hospital workers, too.
York College in Jamaica, Queens and Medgar Evers College in Crown Heights, Brooklyn will house the new sites. Both will be exclusive to residents from each borough.
The capacity to administer 3,000 doses a day, per site, rises far above the levels expected at the mass vaccination centers newly located at Yankee Stadium and Citi Field. At the latter, just 250 vaccinations a day are expected this week, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday at the site opening. The de Blasio administration hopes to ramp that up to about 4,000 a week (570 a day)—but officials say Citi Field has the capacity to dole out 5,000 a day/35,000 a week if the federal government delivers enough supply.
Yankee Stadium had about 2,200 appointments a day planned for this week. About 85% were booked as of Friday.
When asked about the dose allocation differences, Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa said the allocation for city-run sites was requested by the City of New York. Another state-run site operates at the Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens.
“This is a brand new program that we’re doing with the federal government,” DeRosa added.
De Blasio said getting doses from the feds directly allotted to NYC and consistency of those deliveries would simplify and hasten distribution. The governor emphasized these locations would help address access challenges in getting vaccinated.
“We still have to address the distrust,” the governor said. “That’s going to be the obstacle.”
He didn’t answer specifically what more the state would do to address racial COVID-19 disparities, which the city also saw at the peak of the pandemic last spring. State officials have previously touted an ad campaign and working with Black faith leaders as a part of their vaccine equity program.