NYC offers free rides to COVID-19 vaccine sites for seniors

Posted On Tue, January 19, 2021 By

Posted On Tue, January 19, 2021 By In Policy

Mayor Bill de Blasio visits a vaccination site at Hillcrest High School, Queens. Credit: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office.

New York seniors who are unable to get to and from their coronavirus vaccine appointments will now be provided a free ride from the city, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Sunday. Residents aged 65 and older who are unable to make their own arrangements to a city-operated vaccination site can sign up for transportation starting Monday. According to the city, about 10,000 rides will be offered each week.

“We are moving heaven and earth to get our senior neighbors vaccinated,” de Blasio said. “Now, seniors who need a ride to an appointment will get one, ensuring our vaccines go to those who need them most.”

Seniors making an appointment for a vaccine at city-run sites will be asked if they have a way to get to and from their appointment. If transportation is needed, they will be screened and then directed to transit options, which include Access-a-Ride, ambulette services, Curb cab service, and later, transportation by some Senior Center programs.

The city said it has broadened its outreach to seniors by partnering with nonprofit groups and organizations that will knock on doors, place both direct and robocalls, hold virtual meetings, and more. On-site vaccination clinics have launched for seniors living at a number of NYCHA developments, including the Van Dyke I & II Houses in Brooklyn, Cassidy Lafayette Houses on Staten Island, and Polo Grounds Towers in Manhattan.

The effort to help older New Yorkers get vaccinated comes after Gov. Andrew Cuomo expanded the list of eligible residents to include those aged 65 and older and more essential workers, in addition to those already eligible under phase 1A, which includes healthcare workers and nursing home residents and staff.

Because over two million New York City residents are now eligible for the vaccine, securing an appointment has been confusing and challenging. Plus, the city is expected to run out of vaccine supply by the end of the week if the federal government does not send additional doses.

You can find out if you’re eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine via websites from the state and from the city. To find an appointment in New York City, go to the Vaccine Finder website which maps out all places currently administering the vaccine across the five boroughs. You can also call 877-829-4692 to make an appointment at a city-operated site and 833-697-4829 at a state-run site.

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