Mayor Bill de Blasio, Borough President Donovan Richards, Mets owner Steve Cohen and other elected officials toured the new facility, which will have 200 appointments available each day for its first week, and 24-hour service starting next Wednesday.
When the site is at full capacity, de Blasio said it will be able to administer 5,000 doses each day, while giving taxi drivers and food service workers priority.
“The Mets are doing something crucial today for the people of Queens,” de Blasio said. “The people of Queens love the Mets, they love Citi Field, this is a place they want to be. When vaccinations are here, people will come here.”
Richards urged Queens residents to get vaccinated.
“We need you to take this vaccine so that your communities are safe, so that your families are safe, so that we can get back to some level of normalcy in this city and borough,” Richards said.
Jackson Heights resident Raisul Karim was one of the first people to get vaccinated at the stadium.
“I drive a yellow cab,” Karim said. “I’m also working at a hotel. I’m serving in the front lines, it’s a good time for me to get a vaccination.”
Meanwhile, dozens of people who came to the facility were turned away due to not having an appointment.
Felix Hojas said he was frustrated that he was not able to receive a vaccine because his wife is a cancer patient, saying that making an appointment was impossible.
“Nobody answers the phone,” Hojas said. “I’m angry and mad, especially at the mayor. He should do a better job so that some of us can maybe get an appointment.”
There were workers outside of the facility helping people get appointments, and de Blasio also reiterated that there are no walk-up appointments anywhere in the city.
“We do not want long lines,” de Blasio said. “We do not want people congregating together. It’s really important that people make appointments.”
The mayor also said that the city needs a vaccine supply that it can depend on, and called upon the federal government to step up and bring more doses to New York.
“New York City deserves more supply,” de Blasio said. “We could be doing a half-million people a week if we had more supply. We don’t have enough supply to get enough appointments.”
Cohen said he was there to show support for Queens residents.
“This pandemic’s been going on for a long time,” Cohen said. “Please come down, sign up and get vaccinated, get your life back. Let’s get vaccinated, and one other thing, let’s go Mets.”
Eligible New Yorkers can make an appointment at nyc.gov/vaccinefinder or by calling 877-VAX-4NYC.