Photo by David L Roush on Wikimedia
New York City this week will open a mass coronavirus vaccination site at Co-op City, the world’s largest housing cooperative. Mayor Bill de Blasio on Tuesday announced the site will start vaccinations for eligible New Yorkers on March 4 at the Bronx development, which is home to over 15,300 apartments across 72 buildings. “Communities felt deep, deep losses from the coronavirus in the Bronx,” de Blasio said during a press briefing. “The Bronx is too often overlooked. We can’t let that happen.”
Despite statewide declines in COVID-19 positivity rates and hospitalizations, numbers remain high in the Bronx, particularly in the south and northeast sections of the borough. Plus, as of Tuesday, just 8 percent of residents in Co-op City and 5 percent in neighboring Edenwald and Wakefield are fully vaccinated, compared to 15 percent statewide, according to the city’s vaccine tracker.
Rep. Jamaal Bowman and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Sunday sent a letter to President Biden asking for additional vaccines to be distributed in Co-op City, Edenwald, and Wakefield. In these neighborhoods, roughly 90 percent of residents are people of color and 25 percent are seniors. A mass vaccination site opened at Yankee Stadium last month for Bronx residents but is not accessible to those living in the northeast section of the borough.
“While there are numerous factors contributing to these troubling disparities in vaccine distribution, transportation inequity is an especially prevalent factor in this region. For residents of ZIP code 10457, it takes approximately two hours to take the two trains and a bus necessary to make it to the vaccination site at Yankee Stadium,” Bowman and Schumer wrote.
The elected officials continued: “Having access to vaccines in their backyard would allow them to more easily access the necessary information, reminders, and follow-up vaccines.”
The new vaccine site will open at 131 Dreiser Loop on Thursday, with vaccinations available Thursdays through Tuesdays from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Make an appointment here.
The Co-op City hub is part of a broader effort to fight inequities seen throughout the pandemic and now during the vaccination rollout. ZIP code data released last month by the city’s Health Department show that the neighborhoods that have been hit hardest by the virus are seeing the lowest rates of vaccination.
Vaccine hubs are now open at Citi Field for Queens residents, food delivery workers, and drivers with TLC licenses, at the Teachers Preparatory High School in Brownsville for local residents and home health aides, and two FEMA-run sites, one at Medgar Evers College in Crown Heights and another at York College in Jamaica, both of which are designated for residents of each respective borough only.
As of Tuesday, 2,024,601 total vaccine doses have been administered by the city. De Blasio said he expects 5 million New Yorkers to be vaccinated by June.
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