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Biden administration to build two mass Covid vaccination sites in New York City, Gov. Cuomo says

A healthcare worker administers the Pfizer BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at a vaccination site inside a church in the Bronx borough of New York, on Friday, Feb. 5, 2021.

Angus Mordant | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The Biden administration will partner with New York to build and staff two mass Covid-19 vaccination sites in the New York City area aimed at getting shots to minority communities hit hardest by the pandemic.

The sites, which will open the week of Feb. 24, will be located at York College in the New York City borough of Queens and at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at a press briefing on Wednesday. Each site will be able to administer 3,000 shots a day, making them the state’s largest vaccination sites to date.

The federal government will be charged with directly supplying the centers with doses, and the sites will be staffed both by New York state National Guard members and by Army personnel, Cuomo said. More sites will be added in the upstate part of New York to target what the governor calls “socially vulnerable” communities.

“These are going to be very large sites. They’re complicated operations, but they’re going to address a dramatic need in bringing the vaccine to the people who need the vaccine most,” Cuomo said.

Earlier on Wednesday, a mass vaccination site opened at Citi Field for residents of Queens and other essential workers. The site’s debut, which had been delayed because of a lack of doses, comes just days after another mass site at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx opened for residents there.

New York Mayor Bill De Blassio speaks with members of the media as people try to receive a Covid-19 vaccine at the Citi Field Vaccination site in Queens, New York on February 10, 2021.

Kena Betancur | AFP | Getty Images

New York isn’t the only state where the federal government will open mass vaccination centers.

President Joe Biden‘s Covid-19 response team announced shortly before Cuomo’s briefing that they will similarly partner with Texas officials to build three new community vaccination centers, in Dallas, Arlington and Houston. Jeff Zients, Biden’s Covid czar, said those three centers together will allow health-care providers to administer more than 10,000 shots per day.

Beginning next week, the Biden administration will begin sending doses directly to community health centers to expand outreach to traditionally underserved communities.

Those doses will be in addition to the vials sent directly to the states and pharmacy chains, which will begin accepting vaccine doses from the federal government Thursday.

While supply is still limited, vaccinations at community health centers will help expand access to the lifesaving shots for people who may be homeless, agricultural migrant workers, residents of public housing and those with limited English proficiency, said Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, chair of the White House’s Covid-19 Health Equity Task Force.

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