The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) opened the first floor of Aqueduct Racetrack on Monday to serve as a New York state run COVID-19 vaccination distribution center.
In doing so, Aqueduct has joined NYRA's other downstate track, Belmont Park, which is home to a vaccination distribution center operated by Northwell Health that opened earlier this month.
Over seven million New Yorkers–including doctors, nurses and health care workers, people age 65 and over, first responders, teachers, public transit workers, grocery store workers and public safety workers– are currently eligible for the vaccine.
New York State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr., a lifelong resident of Ozone Park who has represented the 15th Senate District since 2008, expressed his appreciation to New York state and to NYRA for selecting Aqueduct as a new distribution site, which is operating seven days a week.
“Aqueduct Racetrack is a landmark and an institution that is universally known to the constituents that I represent,” said Addabbo. “New York state selected a perfect location for this COVID-19 vaccination site and I applaud them for moving so quickly to transform a racetrack into a vaccination center. This is not the first time the men and women of the New York Racing Association have stepped up to support the community and I also thank them for their efforts to protect and support New Yorkers throughout the pandemic.”
Last spring, New York state officials identified Aqueduct as an appropriate location for an overflow hospital to serve the residents of Queens in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Fortunately, the overflow hospital was not needed then or now.
“NYRA is pleased to be able to contribute to the mass vaccination effort underway across the state,” said NYRA President and CEO Dave O'Rourke. “New York state has led the way through this unprecedented public health crisis and we will continue to do our part to support this effort.”