The mayor of a Westchester city that has partially been designated as a COVID-19 “yellow zone” hotspot is calling on New York State to open a vaccine distribution center.
Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano said that state officials should open a center in the city to handle the thousands of area residents who are eligible to receive the vaccination, which recently was opened. up to more people.
“Since Yonkers is the fourth largest city in the state and the largest in the Hudson Valley, it is imperative that we meet the vaccine needs of our region by opening an additional center in our city,,” Spano said.
Yonkers has been hit the hardest of any community in Westchester, and currently has 2,739 active COVID-19 cases, according to the county’s Department of Health. More than 17,000 Yonkers residents have contracted the virus since the pandemic began last year.
“Positivity and hospitalization rates continue to rise here while appointments to obtain a vaccine are increasingly difficult to schedule,” Spano said. “We can’t expect Westchester County Center alone to mass service most of those who live in the lower Hudson Valley. We need to expedite the vaccine to the areas where it’s needed most.”
Spano made note that many of the neighborhoods in the designated COVID-19 “yellow zones” are lower-income, and without a local vaccination center, they have to rely on exposing themselves and others to possible infection by using mass transit.
“Three Yonkers zip codes were designated ‘yellow zones’ by the state in November, proving we need to stem the tide of more cases,” Spano said. “Our ‘yellow zone’ mostly impacts our lower-income communities, many of whom rely on public transportation, so traveling to the County Center for the vaccine comes even more burdensome.”
Spano said that vaccination distribution centers could potentially be set up at the Yonkers Police Athletic League or one of the city’s public libraries.
"Our collective goal is for all of us to gain herd immunity as we vaccinate more and more Americans,” Spano said. “Let Yonkers be a means to that goal so we can once again open up our schools, businesses, and homes as they should.”
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