Thursday, March 4

Governor Cuomo Announces Eight Community Vaccination Kits Deployed to Churches and Cultural Centers In NYC, Long Island, Westchester

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Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has announced eight community vaccination kits have been deployed to churches and cultural institutions in New York City, Long Island and Westchester. These sites bolster New York State’s efforts to equitably distribute the COVID-19 vaccine to communities of color and low-income communities that are underserved by traditional healthcare institutions. The Manhattan site at Abyssinian Baptist Church opened yesterday and the remaining sites opened today, January 18. Reverend Dr. Calvin O. Butts, III of the Abyssinian Baptist Church was the first to be vaccinated at the site. The sites opened to all eligible New Yorkers. The state is planning similar pop-up vaccination sites in upstate communities.

Since federal supply severely limits the ability to distribute vaccines, New Yorkers are encouraged to remain patient and are advised not to show up at vaccination sites without an appointment. New York’s vast distribution network and large population of eligible individuals far exceed the vaccine supply coming from the federal government. This week, New York is only receiving 250,000 doses from the federal government for a universe of over 7 million people who are eligible.

“The State is working quickly to open vaccination sites across the state to get needles into the arms of eligible New Yorkers as quickly and fairly as possible, despite the low supply from the federal government,” Governor Cuomo said. “We’ve said from day one of the vaccination effort that we will not allow communities of color and low-income neighborhoods in healthcare deserts to be left behind when it comes to the COVID vaccination effort. Churches and cultural institutions are critical partners in this effort, and these eight sites will help get the vaccine to more eligible New Yorkers faster even as we contend with the federal government’s supply shortages.”

The establishment of these eight sites was made possible through partnerships with both SOMOS and Northwell Health. The eight sites are located at the addresses below:

Opened January 17

  • Manhattan: Abyssinian Baptist Church, 132 W 138th St., New York, NY 10030

Opened January 18

  • Brooklyn: Christian Cultural Center, 12020 Flatlands Ave., Brooklyn, 11207
  • Bronx: Community Protestant Church 1659 E Gun Hill Rd, The Bronx, NY 10469
  • Queens: Queens Baptist Church, 93-23 217th St., Queens Village, NY 1142
  • Nassau County: Grace Cathedral International, 886 Jerusalem Ave., Uniondale NY, 11554.
  • Suffolk County: Prayer Tabernacle COGIC, 3550 Great Neck Rd., Amityville, NY 11701
  • Staten Island: Mt. Sinai Center for Community Enrichment, 382 Jersey St., Staten Island, NY 10301
  • Westchester County: Calvary Baptist Church, 188 Orawaupum St., White Plains, NY 10606

SOMOS Community Chairman Dr. Ramon Tallaj said, “During the first wave of the pandemic, and through our years of work treating lower income communities of color – who historically fall through the cracks – my network has created a national model of quality, preventative healthcare on behalf of the most underserved communities of the United States—a model based on cultural competency, increased access, equity, and the ability of community-based medicine to successfully address the social determinants of health. Now, amidst a COVID 19 vaccine roll-out marked by mistrust, scarcity, and urgency, this national model has never been so critical to protecting our people – in New York and nationally in similar communities. With the support of city & state leadership like Governor Cuomo and faith leaders like Reverend Butts and community icons like Ruth Hassell Thompson – and a steady allocation of vaccine doses, my network alone can reach over 1 million high-need, at-risk New Yorkers in a month. These are New Yorkers who would never go to a hospital to be vaccinated. But they’ll come to see their family doctors. And that’s who we are. But we need the doses consistently in order to deliver on that promise. I cannot underscore this enough: doses in our hands means doses in New Yorker’s arms. We’re grateful for our ongoing collaboration with Governor Cuomo, who recognizes this urgency and the ability of our network to do what we do best: serve the underserved, treat our own neighborhoods, and vaccinate the members of our hardest-hit communities.”

“The COVID-19 vaccinations Northwell is administering today at Grace Cathedral International in Uniondale and Prayer Tabernacle Church in Amityville are an important step in our outreach efforts to communities of color that were hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic,” said Northwell Health President & CEO Michael Dowling. “As part of the Health Equity Task Forces that Governor Cuomo has established statewide, Northwell is taking the lead on Long Island, working with leaders of diverse communities on how best to inform and educate residents about the availability, efficacy and safety of the vaccines.”

The state has continued to build Community Vaccination Kits and work with public housing officials, churches, and community centers to support these efforts and deploy kits to the appropriate locations. Each kit includes step-by-step instructions for how to set up a site, and critical supplies and equipment such as:

  • Office Supplies
  • Workstation Equipment
  • Communications Equipment
  • Cleaning Supplies
  • Lighting Equipment
  • PPE
  • Crowd/Traffic Control Equipment
  • Vials
  • Syringes
  • Room Dividers
  • Privacy Curtains

The opening of these sites furthers Governor Cuomo’s goal of ensuring the fair and equitable distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. In late 2020, the Governor announced the launch of New York’s Vaccine Equity Task Force chaired by Secretary of State Rossana Rosado, Attorney General Letitia James, National Urban League President & CEO Marc Morial, and Healthfirst President & CEO Pat Wang. The Task Force is working 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.


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