Sites Located Outside of New York City Will Target Underserved Communities, Part of Cuomo and Biden Administrations' Efforts to Distribute Vaccine Equitably and Efficiently
Sites to Be Established in Buffalo, Rochester, Albany and Yonkers and Will Each Vaccinate 1,000 New Yorkers Per Day, Opening First Week of March
Follows Announcement of Similar Sites at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn and York College in Queens Which Will Vaccinate 3,000 New Yorkers Per Day Starting Next Week
Sites Serve as National Model for Equitable Distribution of Vaccine
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that at the Governor's request, the Federal Emergency Management Agency will establish four additional community-based vaccination sites in Buffalo, Rochester, Albany and Yonkers. These four major vaccination sites outside of New York City will vaccinate approximately 1,000 New Yorkers each day beginning the first week of March, and appointments will be initially reserved for members of the community in which the sites are located. The establishment of these sites follows the announcement Governor Cuomo made on Wednesday, February 10 when he joined with White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeffrey Zients and White House COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force Chair Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith to announce similar sites at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn and York College in Queens.
These sites were selected in partnership with FEMA and the CDC, focused on improving vaccine access in socially vulnerable communities. The sites will target communities and populations historically underserved by the traditional health care system that were disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. By increasing vaccine access in communities where vaccine hesitancy and vaccination rates are lower than other parts of the state, these sites will build on the focus of New York State and the Biden Administration to vaccinate as many people as possible fairly and equitably by creating vaccination venues in settings that people trust through partnerships with community leaders and organizations. The Governor has also offered to local governments that the state will partner with them to set up additional mass vaccination sites in their counties to help address vaccination administration disparities.
"From day one New York has prioritized equitable vaccination access with aggressive efforts targeted at reaching communities that were hit the hardest by COVID," Governor Cuomo said. "We're putting four new vaccination sites in socially vulnerable communities outside of New York City where we've seen higher positivity rates and lower vaccination rates. These sites will operate with extended hours - each administering 1,000 doses of the vaccine every day - and there is no doubt that they will be the most effective way to get the vaccine out as quickly and as fairly as possible in the communities that need it most and bring us one step closer to winning the war against COVID."
The four sites being established are located at the addresses below:
Buffalo, Erie County
Delavan Grider Community Center
877 E. Delavan Ave.
Buffalo, NY 14215
Rochester, Monroe County
Former Kodak Hawkeye parking lot at Ave E
1345 St Paul Street
Rochester New York, 14621
Albany, Albany County
Washington Ave. Armory
195 Washington Ave.
Albany, NY 12210
Yonkers, Westchester County
New York National Guard Armory
2 Quincy Place
Yonkers, NY 10701
Sites are currently under development. Appointments at FEMA-NYS partnered sites will be initially reserved for members of the community in which the sites are located, and community engagement efforts will be used to help and encourage community members sign up for appointments. More scheduling information, opening dates and hours of operation will be made available in the coming days.
While COVID-19 has had a damaging impact on the nation writ large, poor communities and communities of color have been particularly devastated by this virus, with Black and Latino people dying at a higher rate than white people. Since the beginning of the vaccine distribution process, another concerning trend has emerged - hesitancy towards the vaccine, especially in the Black community. With a large number of the essential workers coming from communities of color, these New Yorkers face an increased risk of contracting the virus simply due to the nature of their work. This has made it all the more important to not only continue working to instill confidence in the vaccine, but to also break down access barriers and ensure it is available directly within these communities.
With the support of FEMA, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Defense and other federal agencies, these sites will mobilize federal clinical and non-clinical staff and contractors who will work with the National Guard, New York State, local leaders and community based organizations to establish and operate these sites. Each location will be tailored to meet the needs of the specific community it is serving.
Acting FEMA Region 2 Administrator David Maurstad said, "These four additional federally funded community vaccination sites across the Empire State are part of federal, state and local governmental efforts to address and prevent COVID-19 health inequities and ensure an equitable response to the pandemic. Vulnerable and under-served populations having access to vaccines is part of our commitment to ensuring every person who wants a vaccine can get one."
Congressman Brian Higgins said, “We are hearing from many Western New Yorkers eager to be vaccinated. Additional federal resources, which will soon be on the ground will help increase the supply available, and allow more people in our community to be better protected against COVID-19 at a quicker pace.”
Congressman Paul Tonko said, "This is welcome news for our region. More vaccination sites means more members of our community can access the most important tool we have to beat this pandemic and rebuild our communities and our economy. I continue to work in Congress to ensure we have all the resources, protective equipment and vaccines we need to get this job done quickly, effectively and safely."
Congressman Joe Morelle said, "The COVID-19 vaccine is our path out of this pandemic—and the faster we get it into the arms of Americans, the faster we can begin to recover, rebuild, and revitalize our communities. This mass vaccination site will bring us one step closer to that goal while also ensuring equity for underserved neighborhoods who have been disproportionately impacted by this health crisis. I'm grateful to President Biden and Governor Cuomo for their leadership during these challenging times and look forward to continuing our work together to accelerate the vaccination process and ensure the American people have the relief and support they deserve."
Congressman Jamaal Bowman said, "We're proud that our team was able to work with the Governor to bring a mass vaccination site to our district. We will act urgently to ensure an equitable vaccination rollout to all of our constituents. Our district was the state's original epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak and is still dealing with the devastating effects today, which have disproportionately impacted seniors as well as Black and Latino communities. In Westchester County, 171 out of 100,000 Black residents have died, compared to 89 out of every 100,000 across the county as a whole. The Bronx saw the highest deaths in seniors at 3,726 seniors lives lost. Today's announcement is one of many crucial steps to defeating the virus."
Monroe County Executive Adam Bello said, "I thank Gov. Cuomo and President Biden for partnering to build this mass COVID-19 community vaccination site at the former Eastman Kodak Hawkeye plant on St. Paul Boulevard. It is clear that the COVID-19 crisis has disproportionately harmed members of our Black and Brown communities, and it's especially important that vaccination efforts are targeted toward increased access for individuals and neighborhoods hardest-hit and hardest to reach. I look forward to continuing to work with our state and federal partners to fairly and equitably get as many of these life-saving shots into people's arms as possible while vaccine supplies increase."
Westchester County Executive George Latimer said, "The underserved communities that this mass vaccination site in Yonkers will aim to service are the same residents who have borne the brunt of this deadly virus as it ravaged our Nation, State and County. The same communities that were hit hardest when that nation's first coronavirus epicenter came to Westchester. With the new Biden Administration, we in government are here to provide help. The disparities that have occurred throughout the inoculation process are unacceptable and I thank President Biden and Governor Cuomo for their assistance in creating this site. These mass vaccination sites are truly the light at the end of the tunnel."
Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy said, "This is a game changer in our continuing efforts to get members of our underserved communities vaccinated against the virus. Thank you, President Biden and Governor Cuomo for listening to us when we said that we were partnering to bring more shots to our black and brown communities and we needed a larger supply of vaccine. Our partnership to bring mobile vaccinations to vulnerable communities has been successful and we will continue our outreach to community stakeholders. By siting a community-based mass-vaccination in the heart of downtown Albany, we will be able to accomplish equity and be able to get more shots into arms even faster."
Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said, "This new COVID-19 vaccination site at the Armory in Southwest Yonkers, supported by FEMA and managed by New York State, is a significant step for our community that I have been strongly advocating for. It will ensure a more equitable local vaccination strategy by providing only verified Yonkers residents with vaccinations at an impressive 1,000 vaccinations a day capacity. I thank our local, state and federal partners for their efforts to help make this happen."
Senator Neil Breslin said, "I commend Governor Cuomo and the Biden Administration for establishing four additional community-based mass vaccination sites across New York. The vaccination site at the Albany Armory will provide vaccine access to the heart of the city by distributing 1,000 vaccines a day and bringing us closer to the end of the pandemic."
Senator Jeremy Cooney said, "This new vaccine site and federal dose allotment in the 56th Senate District is encouraging news for our community. I thank Governor Cuomo for his advocacy with the CDC to ensure underrepresented communities have opportunities to access this new supply. It is crucial we ensure equity in distributing this lifesaving vaccine to Rochesterians."
Senator Tim Kennedy said, "The brutal impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been magnified for many communities of color across New York who have already been battling significant health disparities and a lack of access to healthcare for decades. Vaccine distribution must be made a priority for these populations that have been disproportionately affected by the virus. I'm pleased to see New York take a step in the right direction to ensure equity and accessibility throughout this process."
Senator Shelley Mayer said, "I am so pleased that vaccines will now be available in downtown Yonkers, Westchester's largest city, at the National Guard Armory. This new site strengthens our efforts to beat back the virus and ensure the equitable distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. I thank Governor Andrew Cuomo for choosing Yonkers for the location of this new site which plans to administer 1,000 vaccine doses per day. Everyday, my office hears the frustration of constituents who are tired of searching for an appointment to no avail. The addition of this new site brings us one step closer to meeting local demand for the vaccine."
Assembly Majority Leader Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes said, “I’d like to thank Governor Cuomo and the Biden Administration for locating a FEMA vaccination site in zip code 14215, one of the hardest hit in my Assembly District and the City of Buffalo. It is my hope that this FEMA site will lead to increased access to opportunity, reduced health disparities and improved health equity to protect communities of color most at risk of contracting COVID-19. I look forward to the day that we can put all of this behind us and society returns to a new normal.”
Assembly Member Harry Bronson said, "Today's announcement adding the Kodak Hawkeye Mass Vax location to those in the Rochester area, puts the vaccine into the arms of those most affected, brown and Black families in our community. The governor's decision to make this neighborhood a target for the vaccine, aligns with our commitment to ensure that vaccinations are distributed in an equitable way. The Hawkeye site is another step into getting the vaccine to families most affected."
Assembly Member Patricia Fahy said, "As more New Yorkers become eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and schedule their appointments, opening more vaccination sites that are easily accessible to the public is key to getting as many shots into arms as possible. Given the high demand just in the Capital Region and throughout all of New York State, news that the Washington Avenue Armory will serve a mass vaccination site is readily welcomed. I commend Governor Cuomo, FEMA, and the Biden Administration for their partnership in opening this new site, and for ensuring that communities of color in particular aren't left behind in New York's vaccine rollout."
Assembly Member John T. McDonald III said, "Vaccinating New Yorkers is critical to protecting the public and putting a stop to the spread of COVID-19. I am encouraged by the efforts of New York State and Governor Cuomo to ensure that social and economic injustices do not impede these efforts. Black, Latino, Asian and poor communities saw much higher rates of infection and suffered the loss of more loved ones. These new sites provide the COVID vaccine to the communities that were hurt the most, bringing hope and a brighter future for all."
Assembly Member J. Gary Pretlow said, "Mass vaccination sites have helped the state make critical progress in the goal to vaccinate every New Yorker as quickly and fairly as possible. These new sites across the state will help build on that progress, particularly with the vulnerable populations that were hit the hardest by the COVID virus. I thank the Governor for showing remarkable leadership from the very start of this crisis through this major undertaking of delivering vaccines to all parts of our state."
Assembly Member Nader Sayegh said, "The residents of Yonkers, especially those living and working in socially vulnerable neighborhoods, have suffered greatly during this pandemic. The announcement of 1,000 COVID-19 vaccinations a day at the National Guard Armory Building in Yonkers is the news we have been hoping and praying for and I urge all my fellow Yonkersites to get vaccinated. I thank our Governor and President Joe Biden for coming to the aid of our city."
Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown said, “I thank Governor Cuomo and the Biden-Harris Administration for providing yet another resource to increase access and ensure equity in the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. The Delavan Grider Community Center is an excellent, well-known location for this significant effort, and I encourage residents to take advantage of this great resource, as we need full participation in order to bring this public health emergency to an end.”
Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan said, "Our main priority continues to be bringing vaccines to our historically underserved residents, and this effort at the gateway of the Sheridan Hollow, Downtown Albany, and West Hill neighborhoods provides the opportunity to better serve their needs. Thank you to President Biden and Governor Cuomo for equitably bringing thousands more vaccines to our residents."
Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano said, "Thank you Governor Cuomo and the Biden Administration for recognizing the growing urgency to bring the COVID-19 vaccine directly to those most vulnerable to the virus. We've long needed a vaccination hub in Yonkers to better service the portions of our community that have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. Equitable access to the vaccine and proper healthcare is essential to curbing the virus and creating a stronger, more resilient Yonkers."
Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren said, "Having a mass vaccination site located in northeast Rochester is good news and welcome progress. I am grateful to President Biden and Governor Cuomo for this significant step toward equity. Now, together, we can and must ensure our underserved populations have equal access to COVID vaccines. I look forward to working with the Governor and his team toward this goal."
Governor Cuomo has made the fair and equitable distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine a top priority from the very beginning of this process. In late 2020, the Governor announced the launch of New York's Vaccine Equity Task Force chaired by Secretary of State Rossana Rosado, National Urban League President & CEO Marc Morial, and Healthfirst President & CEO Pat Wang. Since its establishment, the Task Force has continued work to ensure vulnerable and underserved communities are not left behind by breaking down the barriers to vaccination and ensuring there is equitable distribution of the vaccine across the state.
Most recently, Governor Cuomo and the Biden Administration announced that two community-based mass-vaccination sites will be established at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn and York College in Queens, each site vaccinating approximately 3,000 New Yorkers each day starting next week. New York also led the development of a mass vaccination site at Yankee Stadium in partnership with New York City, the New York Yankees, SOMOS Community Care and the New York National Guard, specifically for residents of the Bronx, which not only continues to maintain the highest COVID-19 positivity rate in New York City, but also contains many neighborhoods considered to be 'heath care deserts.'
Additionally, New York has established more than 90 temporary community-based 'pop up' vaccination sites at churches, community centers and public housing complexes directly within communities across the state which have been underserved by traditional health care systems. Since January 15, these sites have enabled approximately 43,000 New Yorkers to receive their first COVID-19 vaccine dose. After the administration of first doses, sites are then re-established three weeks later to administer second doses.
New York will continue to establish these pop-up sites until they have been placed at all 33 NYCHA Senior Housing Developments, which house more than 7,600 seniors. Pop-up locations will also continue to be established at other public housing complexes statewide, as well as at more than 300 churches and cultural centers which have volunteered to house these sites through Governor Cuomo's Vaccine Equity Task Force.