New York’s state-run COVID-19 vaccination centers will open up to walk-in patients who need their first shot starting on Thursday — in an effort to combat the recent drop in immunizations, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
People age 16 and older will be able to stroll into any state-run facility without an appointment, although only if they are getting their initial jab, officials said Tuesday.
An appointment will then be automatically made for their needed follow-up second dose if the shot is from Pfizer or Moderna, officials said.
Cuomo said the state is following suit because “we’re seeing a reduction in the number of people coming in for vaccines.
“We were doing about 175,000 vaccines statewide every 24 hours,’’ the governor said at a press conference Tuesday. “That number is down to now about 115,000 vaccines every 24 hours.
“The demand is reducing. Fewer people are asking for appointments,” he said.
“Remember when we started, people were chasing appointments. You had to be an expert on the Internet to figure out how to get an appointment,” the governor said — referring to disastrous sign-up systems such as those in New York City in the early days of the vaccine push.
“We’re now at a different place where we have open appointments at mass vaccination sites and vaccination sites almost all across the state,” Cuomo said.
About 45 percent of New Yorkers have gotten at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine to date, his office said.
“We are doing everything we can to make getting a vaccine as easy as possible, and I urge everyone to do their part and get vaccinated so we can protect all the progress we have made so far and begin our return to a new normal,” the governor said in a statement.
Additional reporting by Nolan Hicks
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