Outside of Our Lady of Sorrows Church in Corona, Queens — people are still lining up for COVID-19 testing.

The church is a symbol of the crisis that battered this mostly immigrant community — more than 100 congregants have died from COVID-19.

What You Need To Know

  • At one point Corona, Queens was an epicenter of the coronavirus crisis

  • Now, the community is lagging behind with some of the lowest vaccination rates in the city
  • Only 26% of the people living here have received one dose of the vaccine and just 13% are fully-vaccinated

“This was the epicenter of the pandemic,” said Councilmember Francisco Moya, who represents the area.

Moya said the city should prioritize vaccinating people living in neighborhoods hardest hit by the virus.

Looking at the city’s vaccine finder map — there are only two pharmacies in Corona offering vaccines.

The city is operating a mass vaccination site at Citi Field in Flushing, but Moya says it’s been difficult for people who live in nearby Corona to get appointments.

“We weren’t getting enough vaccines, folks were coming in from other areas and the local community wasn’t able to access them,” said Moya.

According to city data, Corona has some of the lowest vaccination rates in the city.

Only 26% of the people living here have received one dose of the vaccine and just 13% are fully vaccinated.

Citywide, 37% of the population has received at least one dose and 23% are  fully vaccinated.

Moya says his office is teaming with local churches, like our Lady of Sorrows, to offer pop-up vaccine hubs.

“One, the access to it is much easier but two, it’s also a trust issue,” said Moya.

Walther Sinche, a community organizer in Corona, is calling for a more permanent set-up, to give members of this community more opportunities to get vaccinated.

"It’s a high demand. And also, there’s lives to be saved in our neighborhoods. It doesn’t matter if they’re documented, undocumented. Speak English or don’t speak English. We’re human beings,” said Sinche.

City Hall did not immediately respond to our request for comment.

A spokesman for Governor Cuomo said the state helped administer more than 500 doses in Corona over the last month, in partnership with two community groups. He added there are more pop-ups in the works.