Citi Field Mega Vaccine Site Turns People Away as They Struggle to Get Appointments

Tags: Currents Brooklyn, NY, Citi Field, Coronavirus, COVID Relief Bill, covid testing, COVID VACCINE, Media, Queens, NY, World News

By Jessica Easthope

Imagine waiting weeks to get an appointment for a vaccine, taking the train, bus or even walking through the snow to Citi Field in Queens, but then when you get there, you’re turned away. That was the reality for many Feb. 11.

Debbie Graham walks with a cane. She came to Citi Field Thursday morning for her first vaccine. She had given all her information over the phone and made an appointment.

“I thought I would have no problem today getting in to get my shot. They told me that they don’t have anything on record, they don’t have my appointment on record,” she said.

But Debbie got lucky.

“I’m very angry,” she said as a staff member walked over and asked her age. Debbie said she made an appointment and doesn’t know why there’s no record of it.

“Okay how about I take you upstairs, and we’ll figure it out,” he said as Debbie followed him into the stadium.

Not everyone had the same experience. For others, it went smoothly.

“Simple process, you just go in and get a shot,” said Eugenio Perdomo, a TLC driver.

This week, the mega site is only vaccinating 200 people-a-day, which leaves a lot of people out. But New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city had a plan to get people the information they need.

“We’re going to have people out here to help sign people up. If people come here, there will be navigators to help them sign up for a future appointment,” he said.

People at Citi Field said that wasn’t the case.

After trying desperately to make an appointment by calling the city hotline and going online,Carlos Feliz — who is eligible because of his job as a security guard and maintenance worker — came to Citi Field looking for answers. But he didn’t get the one he hoped for.

“It’s so frustrating. I just came here and the guy told me I have to do the same thing, go online or call the same number I’ve called already,” Carlos said.

It was the same answer they gave several others.

In less than two weeks, Citi Field will be able to vaccine up to 5,000 people-a-day. Currents News reached out to the city about how it plans to control the crowds and handle situations like Thursday’s, but the request hasn’t been answered.