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Commonpoint Queens Helping Older Adults Access Covid-19 Vaccine

senior covid vaccine access

Queens, NY — Covid-19 vaccine distribution has been an ongoing problem all over New York City, especially in Northeast Queens, where it still remains that there is no permanent vaccine location.

To help seniors in the community get vaccinated, Commonpoint Queens – formerly known as the Samuel Field Y and Central Queens Y – has spent the last month heavily monitoring city and state websites, calling medical centers across the borough, and reaching out to elected officials and community partners to seek a solution.

“We serve over 3,000 older adults and we’re desperately reaching out to all of them to see how we can help,” said Danielle Ellman, CEO of Commonpoint Queens. “We have held vaccine education workshops, we sit on the phone together and walk them through the appointment process, we schedule car service transportation for appointments, we have even met some of them at the location to ensure all goes smoothly. Over the last week alone we’ve helped about 200 older adults navigate the appointment process, having scheduled over 150 appointments for first doses. One of the clients we helped is 107 years old and thanked us profusely, telling us that he would not have been able to access the vaccine without us.”

On Monday, February 8th, the Commonpoint Queens Sam Field Center in Little Neck hosted NYC Comptroller Scott M. Stringer, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, Assembly Members Nily Rozic and Edward Braunstein, and Council Members Paul Vallone, Barry Grodenchik, and Peter Koo for a rally to advocate for more vaccination sites in Northeast Queens. Although vaccines are now being distributed at Citi Field, the rally addressed the desperate need for more vaccines to be in Eastern Queens where it’s difficult for seniors to travel from, with hope that they would come to community centers like Commonpoint Queens.

“This is a matter of life and death…It is about ensuring a plan that gets rolled out works for every corner of Queens,” said Richards. Rozic added “We understand the vaccine shortage has created logistical hurdles, but we cannot leave any communities behind when supply is eventually replenished and distributed. The expectation that seniors must travel long distances for the chance of immunization is unacceptable.”

“We have been there for our community’s older adults and their evolving needs – whether it’s meal and grocery delivery, mental health services, or socialization opportunities – throughout this pandemic,” said Danielle Hersch, Commonpoint Queens’ Chief Strategy Officer, who has helped develop a system to work with the organization’s Senior Centers and Volunteer department to help navigate the vaccine scheduling process. “We have seniors who are waiting on the phone for an hour and getting disconnected, competing for limited slots amongst each other, and are struggling to navigate a complicated system. We just want to help them see their family members and resume their pre-pandemic lives, and they’re so appreciative of us for helping them.”

If you are an older adult or caregiver for an older adult and need help navigating the vaccine scheduling process you can visit www.commonpointqueens.org/vaccine or call 718-225-6750 extension 238.


More About Commonpoint Queens

Commonpoint Queens is a social services organization that meets the diverse and evolving needs in the borough of Queens —a place where people of all ages and backgrounds come together to find support, access opportunities, and build connections to the community throughout their lives. To learn more, go to www.commonpointqueens.org.