New Yorkers will get a $100 booster incentive if they roll up their sleeves at a city-vaccination site and get a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday.
The incentive to “boost your immune system and your bank account” comes as virus cases have shot up due to the spread of the highly contagious Omicron variant and as city officials anticipate a further rise in cases after people gather indoors for Christmas and New Year’s in the coming weeks. New York City reported an average of 9,297 new COVID-19 cases per day over the past week.
“Vaccination is the way to protect ourselves against Omicron, vaccination is the way to continue our recovery, vaccination is the way for people to live their lives again, vaccination equals freedom,” de Blasio said.
The mayor added that he is adamant against any shutdowns and that the city is prepared to “weather the storm” with a high level of vaccinations; but, residents now need to get boosted to protect themselves against Omicron.
The Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) has estimated that the Omicron variant is responsible for about 93 percent of new COVID-19 cases in NYC, said NYC Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi, noting that the booster provides enhanced protection from disease and infection from Omicron. About 1.7 million boosters have been administered in the city so far, he added.
In addition to focusing on vaccinations, the city will increase its number of COVID-19 testing sites to 112 fixed and mobile sites across the five boroughs by the end of the week. The federal government will assist to open the new sites within the next few days and will also send a shipment of at-home testing kits. More information will be available later today when President Joe Biden addresses the nation about the U.S. response to Omicron this afternoon.
New York City has administered 12.9 million COVID-19 vaccine doses, de Blasio said. The daily number of people admitted to New York City hospitals with COVID, was 200 on Tuesday.