NEW YORK — As of Friday, anyone who wants to receive a COVID-19 shot at a vaccination site run by the City of New York can simply walk right in and roll up their sleeve.
That was the word from Mayor Bill de Blasio in a Friday morning announcement.
People who’d taken advantage of the city’s new walk-in program seemed both grateful — and stunned.
“I was able to walk in today,” said MacKenzie Singleton, who lives across the street from the American Museum of Natural History. “To be able to have the vaccine so widely available, it’s pretty awesome.”
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To commemorate the opening, the museum had a six foot long bandage placed on one of the sea mammal’s fins, to indicate that she had supposedly gotten vaccinated.
The fact that the availability is so great has stunned some people who had to go to great lengths to get a COVID-19 shot as recently as a few weeks ago.
Erin Mills, who also lives on the Upper West Side, said that when she’d managed to get a vaccination appointment earlier this year, she was the only person among her many friends who was able to get through on any appointment websites.
“I felt like I won the lottery, basically,” she said. “So the fact that you can just make an appointment, or just walk into a site now, it’s like the end is really, it’s here.”
That’s a big step, she said.
“I’m going to get emotional,” she said, recalling the contrast. “Life can get back to normal.”
At a ceremony inside the museum on Friday afternoon, de Blasio led a list of prominent names of people who inaugurated the vaccination site. Astrophysicist Neil de Grasse Tyson, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi were among the dignitaries.
Outside of the museum, however, members of the city’s Test and Trace Corps kept asking people if they wanted to enter and get vaccinated. The vast majority of people who were asked said that they’d already gotten their shots.
Still, city-wide, according to Mayor de Blasio, about 3.3 million New York City residents have gotten at least one dose of vaccine. That means that well over half the city is unvaccinated, despite the fact that vaccinations are now available on a walk-in basis.
It’s why the mayor cautioned against anyone assuming that the challenges to get vaccinated are over.
“Everybody’s saying supply is not a problem,” de Blasio said at his daily briefing on Friday morning.
“I’m more jaded,” he added. “I want to make sure we have supply a month from now, two months from now.”