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Richards Calls for the Immediate Opening of Citi Field as a Vaccination Site

Citifield and Donovan Richards (Twitter)

Feb. 7, 2021 By Christina Santucci

Queens politicians say city and state officials are not playing fair with vaccine distribution.

More than two-dozen elected officials representing the borough urged the governor and mayor Sunday to open Citi Field as a COVID-19 vaccination site immediately. They argue that Citi Field should be open as a vaccination site NOW — just like Yankee Stadium, which opened Friday.

“We need our fair share of resources to ensure that our residents are vaccinated at a proportional rate to that of our city counterparts,” according to the Queens elected officials, who penned a letter to the governor and mayor today.

The letter was written by Queens Borough President Donovan Richards and co-signed by three state senators, 10 assembly members, 11 council members and Congress Members Carolyn Maloney, Grace Meng and Gregory Meeks. It was prompted by the opening of Yankee stadium as a vaccination site Friday.

The mayor heralded the opening of Yankee stadium and said that Citi Field would open in a “matter of days.”

Citi Field, however, was initially scheduled to open Jan. 25 but was delayed due to vaccine shortages. De Blasio announced Jan. 12 that it was going to open Jan. 25 and would become a 24/7 vaccination site and that they would be able to vaccinate between 5,000 and 7,000 people per day.

Queens officials called the opening of Yankee Stadium–prior to Citi Field–as “unacceptable,” especially since the stadium had been announced as a vaccination location before the home of the Bronx Bombers.

“Comparatively, Queens is not receiving the same level of dedication in regards to new vaccine distributions,” the letter stated.

The elected officials also called for additional vaccination sites to be opened in parts of the borough that they say have been “largely ignored.” Those areas include Whitestone, Beechhurst, Bayside, Fresh Meadows, Oakland Gardens, Glen Oaks and Queens Village.

Elected officials described Queens as “the epicenter of the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic,” and said it was their responsibility to go to bat for the borough residents.

The letter noted high COVID-19 positivity rates in parts of Queens close to Citi Field. The zip code 11355 in Flushing had a positivity rate of 15.12 percent — the highest in the city — for tests taken from Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, according to city Department of Health data.

The Queens politicians also cited demographic data showing a disparity between the number of white, Black and Hispanic residents receiving vaccines, and urged officials to target distribution to vulnerable residents.

“Too many lives have already been lost, so we cannot waste any further time in getting this vaccine to those who need it most,” the letter stated.

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