'We owe it to our seniors to do better'
February 8, 2021
Dear Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio:
The opening of vaccine hubs at Yankee Stadium and Citi Field is great news for Bronx and Queens residents, but Staten Islanders continue to await our promised hub at the Empire Outlets. Staten Island has lost nearly 1,500 people to Covid-19, and many of my constituents are desperate to be vaccinated.
I know that every jurisdiction is constrained by supply, which is in the hands of the federal government. But efficient distribution is within our control, and in that area, we are failing our seniors. Public health officials have had months to prepare for this vaccine rollout, and yet we have sent our seniors into a web of confusion. Those seeking a vaccine must attempt to navigate a host of different websites for a slim chance at finding an available vaccine. My office receives calls throughout the day from frustrated seniors, and all I can tell them is to keep trying.
This is unacceptable, and we owe it to our seniors and all who are eligible to do better. I am asking that you establish one integrated, comprehensive website for state vaccines, local vaccines and any other entity offering vaccines, as well as one phone number. This is especially necessary for the marginalized who have been disparately impacted by this virus, and those without technological ability and access. We also need a centralized distribution hub here in Staten Island opened immediately at the Empire Outlets, as we were promised weeks ago.
Thank you for your attention to this matter. I look forward to your response.
Councilmember Debi Rose
New York City Council, 49th District