South Bronx Residents React to Addition of Neighborhood Vaccination Hub

COVID-19 cases have been taking a toll on the South Bronx.

In the Mott Haven section of the borough, the percentage of positive COVID-19 tests over the last seven days has risen above 10%.

That’s above the current citywide average which, according to the latest data from City Hall, is now hovering at just over 7%.

The city’s goal now is to get the vaccine into the areas where it’s needed most.

“We need to reach many more people quickly, urgently, and it can be done,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said during a press conference on Monday.

The South Bronx is one of three areas that will receive its own vaccination hub before the end of the week.

On Monday, the mayor announced that the three hubs to open first would be at the South Bronx Educational Complex on St. Ann’s Avenue, the Bushwick Educational Campus in Brooklyn and at Hillcrest High School in Queens.

“You’re going to see a lot more like this, using public school buildings as hubs for a larger community,” de Blasio said.

More locations are expected to come online as more of the city’s population qualifies to get a vaccine.

Currently, the number of people who can get a vaccine is still limited.

However, when it does become more widely available, local residents said they were happy to hear they wouldn’t have to travel to get the shot.

“If it’s going to be in our area, that’s great. So, everyone is looking to be safe in our own place … We’re not going to be traveling to another place to get the vaccine when we can get it in our area,” said Muhammad Elkhate, a food truck operator who operates near the location selected for the Bronx vaccination center.

Others were less enthusiastic and said they still have too many questions about the vaccine.

One woman suggested that the city focus more of its resources on educating people who are on the fence about getting vaccinated.

“I don’t trust it. I don’t trust the vaccination,” said Karen Wilson, a mother who lives in the South Bronx. “I guess if we get more information about it, I’ll be intrigued, but as of right now, I really don’t trust.”

Others disagree with Wilson and said they were happy to hear the vaccine will be made available locally and at a greater number of locations.

Currently, city officials have projected the vaccine will be made available at about 250 locations before the end of the month.

“I would get it in a heartbeat, because right now you see what’s going on, and if half the people are saying they are going to get it and the other half say that they are not, that’s no help to me,” said Kevin Thorton, a supporter of the city’s vaccination efforts.

Since the rollout of all 250 sites isn’t expected to come to fruition until the end of the month, it is unclear whether the city will be able to meet the mayor’s goal of administering one million doses of the vaccine citywide by the end of this month.

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