Brooklyn, NY - As Phase 1B opened up today and appointments filled up, State Senator Andrew Gounardes called for the city and state to open up many more vaccination sites across New York City and in southern Brooklyn in particular. While the city has worked quickly to open up a 24/7 vaccination hub in Brooklyn in addition to 125 sites across the city with more opening on Friday, many neighborhoods are underserved by nearby options, which seniors require as they may not be able to drive and may be uncomfortable taking public transit during the outbreak. There are very few sites in southern Brooklyn, including none in 11209, 11234, 11204, 11223, 11228, 11229, and 11425. Many southern Brooklyn locations were booked immediately due to the high population of seniors.
The current capacity is insufficient to implement a mass-vaccination program that uses the full 300,000 doses per week and ensures that the city vaccinates millions of people at a record pace. As of January 4th, New York City had used just 25% of its allocation, and though the city and state are working quickly to ramp up, the U.K. strain of COVID-19 that is even more transmissible makes rapid vaccination even more urgent. There have been many reports of eligible New Yorkers being unable to make an appointment or even get someone on the phone. Senator Gounardes urged the city and state to act rapidly to implement the infrastructure to vaccinate the population, including through mobile vaccination units and other creative methods used to administer COVID-19 tests.
Senator Gounardes said, "In 1947, New York City mobilized rapidly against smallpox and vaccinated more than 6 million people in the span of under 1 month. Now, we are in another fight against a deadly disease and we need to act with all the creativity, determination and resolve that we have. No community can be left out or left behind. We have had months to prepare for the COVID-19 vaccine coming and there can be no excuses - only action - to ensure we are using our full federal allotment every single day. In communities like southern Brooklyn with a high population of senior citizens, it’s critically important that we have sufficient vaccination sites. We are in a race against time and our communities need access to the COVID vaccine now.”