April 12, 2021 By Allie Griffin
The city is opening up a new COVID-19 vaccine site at the Queens Center Mall in Elmhurst, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Monday.
The facility will open this week at the former Modell’s sporting goods store inside the mall, located at 58-56 92nd St., de Blasio said.
Health staff there will administer the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, according to the city’s vaccine finder site.
The new location comes after complaints from Queens legislators about a lack of vaccination sites in parts of the borough.
“We continue to listen for where we need additional sites…,” de Blasio said during a press briefing Monday. “We’re going to continue to add sites as we get [more vaccine] supply.”
Last month, local lawmakers gathered at Corona Plaza to call on the city to add more vaccination sites in Corona, which is located next to Elmhurst.
The neighborhood once dubbed “the epicenter of the epicenter” of the pandemic, had only a handful of small vaccine sites and the lowest COVID-19 vaccination rate in all of New York City at the time.
Assembly Members Catalina Cruz, Jeffrion Aubry and Jessica González-Rojas, along with Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, called on both de Blasio and the governor to open additional facilities.
The state added a temporary pop-up vaccine site in Corona days later, but the neighborhood still has just three or four pharmacy sites— although there is a mass vaccine site at Citi Field within its ZIP code (11368) boundaries.
The Queens Center Mall vaccine site would improve vaccine access for Corona residents. The mall is just a block away from Junction Boulevard — which marks the western border of the 11368 ZIP code area.
Its opening is timely, as even now the Corona’s vaccination rate remains low compared to the citywide, and borough-wide, rate.
According to city data Monday, 30 percent of Corona residents who are eligible for the vaccine have received at least one shot of the vaccine and just 17 percent have been fully vaccinated — meaning they received both doses of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Corona’s vaccination rate is significantly lower than the city’s and Queens’ rates. Citywide, 41 percent of vaccine-eligible New Yorkers — those 18 and up — have gotten at least one dose of the vaccine and in Queens, 42 percent of adult residents have gotten at least one dose.
Both citywide and borough-wide, 27 percent of adults have been fully vaccinated.
Several neighborhoods in Southeast Queens also have lower vaccination rates, according to the data.
Additional Queens legislators have demanded the city and state to add more vaccination sites in the neighborhoods of Middle Village, Maspeth, Glendale, Ridgewood and Woodhaven.
Congress Member Grace Meng; State Sen. Joe Addabbo; Assembly Members Cathy Nolan, Jenifer Rajkumar and Brian Barnwell and Council Member Robert Holden penned letters to de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo Friday calling on them to open a mass vaccination site in the area.