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Politics

Maloney, AOC Call on Mayor to Consider COVID Vaccine Sites at HANAC Facilities

NEW YORK – This week, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12) and Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14) encouraged New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to consider adding COVID-19 vaccination sites to Hellenic-American Neighborhood Association (HANAC) senior facilities. HANAC is a citywide social service organization that, in addition to offering services and programs for more than 30,000 seniors in the city, owns and operates 650 senior affordable housing units in five separate residential buildings across Queens, NY. These residents are part of the high-risk demographic for severe outcomes should they contract COVID-19, with many homebound and without the technological literacy necessary to reserve a vaccination appointment online, making it both difficult to book an appointment and travel to off-site vaccine centers. 

In their letter to Mayor de Blasio, dated March 1, Congresswomen Maloney and Ocasio-Cortez write, “Vaccine distribution should be easy, accessible, and free for all. That is why we ask that you give full and fair consideration to adding on-site vaccination sites at each of the HANAC senior affordable housing residences. Enabling vaccine access for these senior living communities is vital to an equitable roll out of the COVID-19 vaccine.” 

The full text of the letter follows:

Dear Mayor de Blasio:

We write to thank you for your hard work in overseeing the coronavirus vaccination effort in New York City and ensuring that the process is efficient, comprehensive, and equitable. We ask that you give fair and due consideration to the request from the Hellenic-American Neighborhood Action Committee (HANAC) to add vaccination sites to their senior residences; One Flushing, HANAC Corona Senior Residence, HANAC PCA Senior Residence, George T. Douris Tower, and Archbishop Iakovos Senior Residence. We believe this action would further improve access for our city’s elderly and disabled residents.

As you are aware, HANAC is a citywide social service organization that, in addition to offering services and programs for over 30,000 seniors in the city, owns and operates 650 senior affordable housing units in five separate residential buildings across Queens, New York. HANAC’s senior residences service primarily low-income elderly and disabled residents. These residents – our constituents – are part of the high-risk demographic for severe outcomes should they contract COVID-19, yet currently they do not have access to a convenient vaccination site. Not only are they in the highest priority group for receiving COVID-19 vaccines, but a large portion of these residents also have mental and physical disabilities that make it exceptionally difficult for them to travel to the nearest vaccination site. Furthermore, many of these residents do not have the technological literacy necessary to reserve vaccination appointments for themselves online, despite their eligibility.

We believe that offering on-site vaccination services at these four senior affordable housing residences would largely eliminate barriers to access by providing residents with both physical proximity to a vaccination site and the opportunity for assistance with vaccine registration.

Vaccine distribution should be easy, accessible, and free for all. That is why we ask that you give full and fair consideration to adding on-site vaccination sites at each of the HANAC senior affordable housing residences. Enabling vaccine access for these senior living communities is vital to an equitable rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Thank you for your attention to this matter and for your leadership in New York City’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sincerely,

CAROLYN B. MALONEY 

Member of Congress

ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ

Member of Congress     

CC: Dr. Dr. Mitchell Katz, President and CEO, NYC Health + Hospitals

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