WEST SIDE, Manhattan — On Tuesday, New York joined the ranks of nearly 30 other states allowing all residents 16 years of age and older to be vaccinated against coronavirus.
The move came nearly four months after the vaccine manufactured by Pfizer — a New York-based company — was approved for use in the U.S. It’s the only vaccine that was manufactured for use in people under the age of 18.
On Tuesday, those young people were finally able to get access to the shot.
Both at Northwell Health’s Cohen Children’s Medical Center on Long Island, and at the Jacob Javits Center in Manhattan, 16- and 17-year-olds that received shots were among the first in the state to get vaccinated.
Will Braffman, 16, had spent two hours on the web beforehand to get appointments for himself and three others.
“Twenty minutes later, I got one for my friend, and 20 after that, I got one for my brother,” he said.
His brother is Zachary Braffman; they’re twins.
“I’m happy that things can start getting back to normal, you know?” he said.
Both brothers are now vaccinated.
Until Tuesday, however, New York only allowed vaccination access for people 30 years of age and older (in addition to those with other qualifications). Now, though, vaccines are available to New Yorkers ages 16 to 29, as well.
Adam Kindler, 26, couldn’t contain his excitement as he exited from the Jacob Javits vaccination hub.
“It was my shot!” he shouted. “I’m so excited!”
Thoughts of the future were the reason for Kindler’s excitement.
“I just want to be with people,” he continued. “I miss interacting, you know?”
Autumn Swepson, 19, was also pleased.
“I think I’m going to be more excited to go outside,” said the first year college student.
At the same time, though, she’s concerned that people she knows who are six decades older than she is can’t sign up for a shot.
“They might not have anyone like my mom, or me, or anyone to help them do it,” she said.
Concerns like hers were addressed on Tuesday by Mayor Bill de Blasio, when he announced a program to make it easier for people 75 years of age or older to get vaccinated in New York City without an appointment.
“We’ve had a pilot initiative the last few days for seniors 75 years old and up,” the mayor said at his daily news conference, “where they can simply walk up to some of our biggest sites, and get an appointment right away.”
The program is growing, he said.
“We’re now expanding,” he continued, “from three sites that were part of our pilot program, to 25 sites.”
Those sites are in all five New York City boroughs; here’s the full list:
- Bushwick Educational Campus
- Canarsie HS
- Brooklyn Army Terminal
- Starrett City – Spring Creek Towers
- Teachers Prep
- Flatbush YMCA
- City Point
- Coney Island YMCA (opens 4/8)
- South Bronx Educational Campus
- Bronx High School of Science
- Co-Op City
- West Bronx Gymnasium
- Beach Channel Educational Campus
- Long Island City
- Korean Community Services
- Martin Van Buren High School
- Ocean Breeze Athletic
- Empire Outlets
- Essex Crossing
- City College
- Abyssinian Baptist Church
- Ford Foundation (opens 4/7)
- Yeshiva University (opens 4/7)
- Fulton Community Center (opens 4/7)