Mayor Bill de Blasio tours the new vaccine site at the American Museum of Natural History on April 23, 2021. Credit: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office on Flickr
Any resident of the United States who is at least 16 years old is now eligible to receive the coronavirus vaccine in New York. In vaccination guidance updated last week, the state’s Department of Health ditched the work or residency requirement to previously needed to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. The policy change comes as Mayor Bill de Blasio said he wants to set up mobile vaccination hubs at popular tourist destinations, like Central Park and Times Square, to vaccinate visitors to the Big Apple.
The state’s vaccination guidelines updated on May 6 reads, “All individuals 16 years of age and older that reside in the United States are eligible to be vaccinated.” While all state- and city-run sites are open for walk-in vaccines, appointments can still be made online or over the phone.
De Blasio last week announced plans to open mobile vaccination units, like the vaccine buses that rolled out last month, in tourist hot spots, including Times Square, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Central Park, and the High Line. Under the city’s plan, these sites would offer out-of-towners the one-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine. Now with the state’s approval, visitors are eligible for all of the available vaccines. However, those aged 16 and 17 are currently only eligible for Pfizer.
“We think this is a positive message to tourists,” de Blasio said during a press briefing last Thursday. “Come here. It’s safe. It’s a great place to be, and we’re going to take care of you.”
Appealing to tourists and native New Yorkers alike, the mayor on Monday announced additional incentives for getting vaccinated. For those who receive a vaccine in New York City, free tickets and deals will be offered for the following cultural institutions and events: the New York Aquarium, New York Botanical Garden, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Bronx Zoo, Public Theater, Lincoln Center, Brooklyn Cyclones, New York City Football Club, and NYC Ferry. More details on the incentives are expected to be released in the coming days, according to the mayor.
Last week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced plans to vaccinate fans at Yankee and Mets games, along with free tickets to future home games. For those who get vaccinated under the blue whale at the American Museum of Natural History, the museum will give complimentary general admission on a future visit for a group of four.
A full list of NYC sites, along with the location, hours of operation, and which vaccine they offer, can be found here, and the full list of state sites here. Use the city’s vaccine finder website here to locate a site closest to you. You can also call 1-877-VAX-4-NYC. For state-run hubs, make an appointment here or call 1-833-NYS-4-VAX.
As of Monday, the city has administered a total of 7,048,270 doses of the vaccine. The city’s COVID infection rate hit 2.01 percent, the lowest it has been in six months, according to the mayor.
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