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State, New York Presbyterian launch new COVID-19 vaccination site in Washington Heights

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Moses Kuwema 

Governor Andrew Cuomo and NewYork-Presbyterian announced Thursday the launch of a new COVID-19 vaccination site for New Yorkers at the Fort Washington Armory in Washington Heights. 

The site, located at 216 Fort Washington Avenue at the corner of 169th Street, was made possible through the additional partnership of Weill Cornell Medicine and Columbia University Irving Medical Center and is offering COVID-19 vaccinations to individuals over the age of 65 with scheduled appointments only beginning January 14. 

New York State's vaccine supply is limited by the federal government. Based on federal guidelines that the state is following more than 7 million New Yorkers are now eligible for the COVID vaccine, but the state only receives approximately 300,000 doses per week from the federal government. As such, the number of available appointments each day will vary based on supply not only at the Fort Washington Armory site, but across the state as well. 

"The COVID pandemic has highlighted pre-existing inequity in our society and our healthcare system — and as we fight against this virus, we also have to fight back against those forces of inequality," Governor Cuomo said.

"NewYork-Presbyterian was one of the most effective hospitals in the early days of our vaccination program, and now we are partnering with them and our Vaccine Equity Task Force to expand their efforts into the community. With partnerships like this, we are making sure New Yorkers of color aren't left behind." 

Dr. Steven J. Corwin, President and CEO of NewYork-Presbyterian said, "COVID-19 has taken a tragic toll on our communities. Now, after nearly a year on the front lines, we are finally taking the fight to this deadly virus. We are proud to be working with Governor Cuomo and the State to vaccinate as many New Yorkers as possible and begin to restore the health and vitality of the city we all love."

To make an appointment at the Fort Washington Armory site, NewYork-Presbyterian patients aged 65 and older can use the ColumbiaDoctors, Weill Cornell Medicine, and NewYork-Presbyterian Connect online patient portal.  Patients who do not have a Connect account and people over age 65 who are not ColumbiaDoctors, Weill Cornell Medicine, and NewYork-Presbyterian patients can set up an account by visiting VaccineTogetherNY.org.

The Armory is wheelchair accessible and meets ADA accessibility standards. Additionally, the site is staffed by medical staff who speak both Spanish and English. New Yorkers over the age of 65 who have scheduled appointments can access the site via the A and C trains. The train stop for the A and C trains is Broadway and 168th Street. 

The establishment of the Fort Washington Armory Vaccination site further builds on the expanded network of vaccination sites established by Governor Cuomo to accelerate the vaccination rate of priority health care workers and begin the vaccination of newly eligible New Yorkers. New York has already opened four state-run vaccination sites at the Jacob K. Javits Center, Westchester County Center, New York State Fair Expo Center and Jones Beach, with an additional site at SUNY Albany scheduled to open Friday, January 15 at 8 a.m. 15 additional sites are also scheduled to begin operations in the coming days.

Additionally, this site furthers Governor Cuomo's goal of ensuring the fair and equitable distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. In late 2020, the Governor announced the launch of New York's Vaccine Equity Task Force chaired by Secretary of State Rossana Rosado, Attorney General Letitia James, National Urban League President & CEO Marc Morial, and Healthfirst President & CEO Pat Wang. Since its establishment, the Task Force has continued work to ensure vulnerable and underserved communities are not left behind by breaking down the barriers to vaccination and ensuring there is equitable distribution of the vaccine across the state.

Rep. Adriano Espaillat said, "It's critical that we make sure the COVID-19 vaccine is available to all New Yorkers, not just those who have better access to health care institutions, and that's why this large-scale vaccination site in Washington Heights is a step in the right direction. 

"I thank Governor Cuomo and NewYork-Presbyterian for their efforts to expand access to the vaccine in our community. This new site will help ensure that vaccine distribution is not just timely, but equitable as well."

Secretary of State and Chair of New York's Vaccine Equity Task Force Rossana Rosado said, "Underserved communities were, and continue to be, hit the hardest during the pandemic. As co-chair of Governor Cuomo's NYS Vaccine Equity Taskforce, we are addressing this issue head on and are working to reduce barriers and ensure equitable distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine.

"This vaccination site at NY Presbyterian is part of our regional vaccine network that will help provide every New Yorker with equal access to the vaccine."

Senator Robert Jackson said, "I am so grateful to NewYork-Presbyterian and NYS Department of Health's combined efforts to expand vaccine clinics to Northern Manhattan. We had zero vaccine sites for far too long, even though the highest rates for infections in the borough have long been in Inwood and Washington Heights. 

"My constituents will now have the opportunity to get the vaccine we all need during this pandemic thanks to their efforts. I look forward to continuing working with the Governor's office building capacity to meet the needs of our community."

Assembly Member Al Taylor said, "COVID-19 hit Harlem and Washington Heights hardest in Manhattan and it is critical our community has access to the COVID vaccine. This large-scale vaccination site is a great start towards ensuring the distribution is equitable for the residents of Northern Manhattan. 

"I thank Governor Cuomo and NewYork-Presbyterian for taking this step in ensuring the vaccine is distributed timely and accessibly. I will continue to work alongside my partners in Government to ensure our residents continue to have access to this much needed vaccine."

Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez said, "Northern Manhattan has some the highest rates of COVID-19 in the borough of Manhattan. I am proud to know that the Armory located in the heart of Washington Heights will be turned into a vaccination site.

"I thank Governor Cuomo and New York Presbyterian for their help in turning the Armory into a vaccination site. I hope that this is the first of many vaccination sites that we will see open in Northern Manhattan. We are at the home stretch, all New Yorkers must continue doing their part by wearing their masks and staying social distant. 

"We will be working with other partners to ensure that appointments can be made over the phone and in various languages and that we prioritize the underserved communities that were devastated by COVID-19.

"I will continue to work alongside my colleagues at the City, State, and Federal level to ensure we're keeping all New Yorkers safe."

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