All New York state-run mass coronavirus vaccination sites will allow anyone 16 years of age or older to walk in and get their first dose, starting Thursday, announced Tuesday Governor Andrew M. Cuomo.
Walk-in vaccines will be available at state-run sites in New York, such as the Javits Center in Manhattan and Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, as well as on Long Island and cities upstate. like Albany and Syracuse, the governor said.
The second doses will always be given by appointment, which will be scheduled after the administration of the first dose.
“Just show up and roll up your sleeve, and mass vaccination sites have the capacity to handle it,” Cuomo said at a press conference Tuesday.
Other types of vaccine providers in the state, such as pharmacies and sites run by cities and counties, will also have the option to begin allowing walk-in visits, a move encouraged by the governor.
New York had already started to allow certain vaccinations without prior appointment. Mr. Cuomo announced last week that people 60 and over could enter for vaccination at 16 state-run sites. And Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York announced last week that city-run vaccination sites would allow any eligible person come in for a shot.
Allowing appointments simplifies a process that plagued many New Yorkers earlier in the pandemic, when getting an appointment for a vaccine often took hours of online research and a little luck too. The new policy could also attract people who are still hesitant to get vaccinated, Cuomo said.
“This is our way of saying, if you were intimidated by the process of trying to make an appointment, go,” said the governor.
He said it was possible to allow more visits because fewer vaccinations were being given statewide now – around 115,000 doses per day – than a few weeks ago, when the state peaked at around 175,000 doses per day.
“Demand is decreasing, fewer people are asking for appointments,” Cuomo said.
State data shows that just under 45 percent of New York residents, just over 8.9 million people, had received at least one dose of the vaccine on Tuesday morning.
Mr. Cuomo also announced at the press conference that New York would adopt the new CDC guidelines that fully immunized people can safely enjoy most outdoor activities without a mask.
Reports of new cases and hospitalizations have declined in the state, according to a New York Times Database, but the risk of infection remains very high in New York, where some troublesome variants of the virus appear to be on the rise.