Walk-ins will be welcome — at least to make appointments — at the Big Apple’s two new mass COVID-19 vaccination sites operated by the feds and New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday.
Special MTA buses also will run through the surrounding communities to and from the sites — Medgar Evers College in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, and York College in Jamaica, Queens— when the centers open Wednesday, the governor said.
“All [residents] have to do is call or go to the website or, starting Wednesday, stop in … make an appointment and come back when your appointment is due,” Cuomo said during a press announcement at Medgar Evers, surrounded by religious and community leaders.
Despite the city being bombarded with complaints about an overly bureaucratic, complicated sign-up system, New York City-run vaccination centers do not solicit walk-ins to make appointments because officials don’t want lines amid the pandemic, according to the de Blasio administration.
When the city opened up CitiField as an inoculation site earlier this month, dozens of elderly locals turned up begging for appointments they said they couldn’t make online, only to be turned away.
Cuomo said the federal-state sites will give preference to vaccine-eligible residents from surrounding communities during the first week shots are administered at them.
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After that, any borough resident already eligible to receive the vaccine can get their shots there, he said.
The governor did not take questions, and scant details were released on the promised boosted transportation to the new centers.
“The MTA will enhance bus service from NYCHA and community centers in these boroughs to the State-FEMA vaccination sites in Brooklyn and Queens,” the state said in a later press release.
“For example, In Queens, the MTA will run a shuttle from Hammel Houses to York College. In Brooklyn, bus service will be enhanced with additional frequency on the existing B49 bus route, which already provides service to Medgar Evers.
“More details on the enhanced routes will be released in the coming days.”
The state said the new transit information would be uploaded to tripplanner.mta.info starting March 1.
Additional reporting by Nolan Hicks