coronavirus vaccine

New York City Jabs 1,100 on First Day of Pilot Program in Subway, Train Stations

Photo: Daniel Slim/AFP via Getty Images

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced this week that eight subway and commuter-rail stations would provide walk-up Johnson & Johnson vaccines and 1,112 took the offer on the first day, officials said.

The pilot program runs from May 12 to May 16, giving out shots at the 179th Street station in Jamaica; the Stillwell Avenue stop in Coney Island; Broadway Junction in East New York; the E. 180th Street station in the Bronx; and Grand Central Terminal and Penn Station in Manhattan. Pop-up locations will also be located at the Long Island Rail Road station in Hempstead and the Metro-North in Ossining.

As Cuomo noted in the announcement, the program is designed to bring vaccines to New Yorkers, now that all adults are able to get walk-in shots at state- and city-run sites. “You are walking into the subway station anyway, you are walking past the vaccination site, it’s a one-shot vaccination, stop, take a few minutes, get the vaccine,” he said, adding that the initiative could be extended if it has a high participation rate.

Gothamist reports the 1,112 figure “fell short of the program’s full capacity of about 2,000 to 2,400 shots a day — but it was a solid start,” given that eight sites accounted for about 10 percent of the average number of doses given out per day by the city across hundreds of sites.

The pop-up program is also part of the growing project to incentivize getting vaccinated: New Jersey and D.C. provide a lowly beer voucher and West Virginia offers $100 savings bonds for those between 16 and 35 who sign up for a shot. Anyone who gets a train station vaccination will get either a seven-day MetroCard or two one-way tickets for the LIRR or Metro-North. On Monday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio also announced a measure to give free tickets to the New York Aquarium, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, or pro soccer games in exchange for shots.

Though the initial rush to vaccinate New Yorkers saw great successes in getting shots to older and vulnerable populations, vaccination rates have slowed, with around 55 percent of the city’s adults receiving at least one dose as of last week. Significant disparities remain between racial groups in the city: Only 30 percent of Black and 37 percent of Latino New Yorkers, hit hardest by the pandemic, have received at least one dose as of last week.

NYC Jabs 1,100 on First Day of Program in Subway Stations