All NYC COVID vax sites to allow walk-ins immediately: Mayor de Blasio

New York City will make it easier for residents to get COVID vaccines by allowing walk-in appointments at all 35 city-run vaccination sites starting immediately, Mayor de Blasio announced Friday.

The city is also encouraging private community-run health centers to allow walk-ins and urging doctors to proactively contact their patients to encourage them to get their COVID shots.

“You can just walk up and get vaccinated,” de Blasio said at his Friday press briefing. “We’re quite confident we can accommodate a much higher volume of walk-ins so we’re going to make that universal at all the city-run sites.”

City-run sites that will now accommodate walk-ins include the Museum of Natural History, the Coney Island YMCA, Citi Field, Lehman College in the Bronx and the Empire Outlets on Staten Island.

Before Friday, most city-run vaccination sites required people seeking inoculation to make an appointment. But after launching a walk-in pilot program earlier this month and experiencing an uptick in vaccine supply, the city opted to expand walk-ins significantly as part of its push to fully vaccinate 5 million city residents by the end of June.

Vaccine supplies throughout the country temporarily dipped last week after the federal government recommended putting a hold on the use of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine due to side effects that led to several deaths. New York City, which had been using the J&J vaccine to inoculate home-bound seniors, halted its use as a result of the fed’s concerns, but the J&J pause appears likely to be lifted soon, which would further increase the availability of vaccines in the city.

City Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi said Friday that while the city is planning for different “eventualities” it’s ready to begin administering the J&J vaccine within a day or two of new guidelines from the federal government being released.

“The hoped-for outcome is that we will be able to resume using the Johnson & Johnson vaccine,” he said. “Operationally, we will be ready as soon as tomorrow to resume using the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, depending on exactly what that outcome is.”

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio

So far, 3.3 million New Yorkers have received at least one vaccine dose, and 2.2 million have been fully vaccinated, de Blasio said. More than 6 million doses have been administered in the city, both to city residents and people traveling here from outside the five boroughs.

“We’re almost two-thirds of the way there,” de Blasio said of his goal to fully vaccinate 5 million city residents. “So I feel really good.”

Despite the city’s relatively stable vaccine supply at this point, de Blasio sounded a note of caution, saying he doesn’t intend to ship any of it to other areas due to the possibility of future surges in demand.

“I think there are hundreds of thousands of people who will get a vaccination when it’s easy, and the fact that it’s easy now is something we embrace,” he said.

A vaccination site is located in the American Museum of National History in Manhattan, New York.

But he added a caveat.

“We shouldn’t overstate the moment. Right now supply and demand have come into much better balance than they were before,” he said. “But there’s a long road ahead.”

De Blasio planned later Friday to visit the city’s vaccination site at the Museum of Natural History, where people can now receive their shots under the giant blue whale there.

The novelty of the site, he said, is part of the broader effort to entice more and more New Yorkers to get vaccinated.

“We’re going to make it fun and we’re going to make it easy and we’re going to make it exciting in lots of ways,” he said. “We gotta keep looking for every way that attracts people.”

Source (Ny Daily news)

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