NEW YORK – Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12), Governor Kathy Hochul, Deputy Mayor Lorraine Grillo, New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), Astoria Houses tenant leaders, the Floating Hospital, the Tuchman Foundation, and the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) on April 14 unveiled a temporary medical care unit at Astoria Houses to provide free COVID-19 vaccines and tests.
The temporary medical care unit is made from 40-foot-long repurposed shipping containers and was designed by a research and development consortium composed of the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) and The Tuchman Foundation. The Congresswoman worked with NJIT, the City and State of New York, New York City Housing Authority, the Tuchman Foundation, and The Floating Hospital to secure the unit for placement at Astoria Houses.
The unit will be operated by the Floating Hospital, a NYC-based charity hospital that provides healthcare services to anyone in need. The site will be open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 AM-5 PM.
Currently, there is only one permanent vaccination site within half a mile of Astoria Houses, and two permanent vaccination sites in the 11102 zip code. The lack of access to vaccines has led, in part, to a COVID-19 case rate within this zip code that is more than double the Queens and New York City case rates: about 30,300 per 100,000 individuals compared to approximately 13,350 and 12,600, respectively. Similarly, the COVID-19 death rate within this zip code is approximately 616 per 100,000 individuals, compared to about 448 in Queens and 408 in New York City.
“I am proud to have partnered with The Floating Hospital, the New York City Housing Authority, the New Jersey Institute of Technology, and the Tuchman Foundation to bring this temporary medical care unit to Astoria Houses,” said Rep. Maloney. “Health care is and always should be a human right. This has not been more evident than in the past two years, as we confronted the coronavirus pandemic and millions of people were unable to access COVID-19 tests and vaccinations. Currently, there is only one permanent vaccination site within half a mile of Astoria Houses, and two permanent vaccination sites in the 11102 zip code. The lack of access to vaccines at Astoria Houses has led, in part, to a COVID-19 case rate within this zip code that is more than double the Queens and New York City case rates. No one should be denied healthcare based on where they live, and that is why I worked so hard to get this temporary medical care unit on the ground at Astoria Houses for COVID-19 tests and vaccinations.”
“We need to make sure New York’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic is inclusive, equitable and fair. That’s why it’s so important to have sites like this new medical care unit at the Astoria Houses, bringing much-needed resources and services to communities that had been left behind for far too long. I’m grateful to the hard-working medical professionals who will ensure local residents have tests and vaccines, and thankful to my friend Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney whose advocacy has been instrumental in making this project a reality,” said Governor Kathy Hochul.
“The COVID-19 pandemic underscored the importance of bringing healthcare facilities capable of coronavirus detection and treatment to as many communities as possible,” said NYCHA Chair & CEO Greg Russ. “We are grateful to Congressmember Maloney and The Floating Hospital for working with us to establish this testing and vaccine clinic– which will ensure that the continued health and safety of public housing residents is a top priority.”
“Rep. Maloney has long been a champion for us and the western Queens communities, and this is just one more example of how in tune she is with community needs and her diligence in pursuing solutions. We are very thankful for her work and for all the parties who contributed efforts and ideas to make this happen so we can ensure safe Covid practices for underserved residents,” said Sean T. Granahan Esq., President and General Counsel, The Floating Hospital.
“These mobile medical units are an innovative solution to a very complex problem, which is what we are all about at NJIT. These units are fabricated from repurposed shipping containers and have proven effective as triage centers in real-world settings. They provide customizable internal environments that can be configured for various medical applications, including clinical point-of-care services and the testing and treatment of communicable and non-communicable diseases. Additionally, they are easily transportable for rapid deployment. What we are particularly proud of, in this instance, is the collaboration that took place that brought this approach into existence in response to a global problem,” said Oya I. Tukel, Ph.D. Dean, Martin Tuchman School of Management at NJIT.