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DJ New York City's Yankee Stadium Opens as Covid-19 Vaccine Hub

· 02/05/2021 11:31
By Katie Honan

New York City and state officials on Friday opened a large-scale Covid-19 vaccination center in Yankee Stadium that aims to get more shots in the arms of residents in some of the city's hardest-hit neighborhoods.

The Bronx site has the capacity to handle 15,000 vaccination appointments in its first week of operation, according to the officials operating the facility. As of Friday morning, only 2,000 appointments were still available for the first week, the officials said. The facility will take reservations only from Bronx residents and shots are by appointment only, according to the officials.

Hundreds of residents lined up outside the ballpark on Friday. Some didn't have a reservation but said they hoped they would be added to a waiting list or would be given an appointment at a later date.

Josefina Rodriguez, 85 years old, went with her daughter for her vaccination appointment at the stadium.

They live together in the same Pelham Parkway apartment. Ms. Rodriguez had to cancel her original appointment when her daughter, Rosa Estela, and son-in-law tested positive for the virus.

When Ms. Estela saw on the news about the new vaccine site, she said she immediately signed up her mother. Ms. Estela then let staff at her local school know about the site. "I think most of them signed up for the weekend," she said.

Both New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo said they hope the site will increase the number of Black and Latino New Yorkers receiving vaccinations.

City data released Sunday showed nearly half of the hundreds of thousands of city residents who received a shot were white, more than double any minority group in the city. While city officials said the data was incomplete, the preliminary findings showed Blacks received 11% of the doses, while 15% went to Asians and another 15% to Latinos.

Mr. Cuomo and Mr. de Blasio have tried to improve vaccination rates by setting up facilities in partnership with churches, health providers and civil-rights groups in minority communities.

They both have said some Black residents were hesitant to get a shot because of a mistrust of health-care and government institutions over a history of unethical experimentation. "I don't believe it's justified for this vaccine, but it's understandable historically," Mr. Cuomo said on Sunday.

The city has also increased outreach in communities where there has been more wariness around the vaccine, Mr. de Blasio and officials said.

"It may be door to door, but it also may be small community groups in order to be able to convince people that they want to be vaccinated and also to help people who have access issues to solve those problems," Mitchell Katz, the chairman of the city's public hospital system, said Thursday at a press conference.

State data showed the Bronx's positivity rate for Covid-19 was 5.5% as of Feb. 2. The Bronx has the highest death rate of any other borough in the city.

Those who waited for their appointment at Yankee Stadium on Friday said they were thankful for a site dedicated just to Bronx residents.

"When they said all Bronx people I just jumped on line," said Greg Alvarez, a 50-year-old health-care worker who lives on Sedgwick Avenue, who made an appointment Thursday night. "I need to protect myself and my family."

Write to Katie Honan at Katie.Honan@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

February 05, 2021 11:31 ET (16:31 GMT)

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