In an effort to get more New Yorkers vaccinated, the city’s transit system is offering free rides and MetroCards to those who get a vaccine at new vaccination sites at major transit hubs.
From May 12-16, eight new walk-in vaccination hubs will be opened within some of the transit system’s major travel hubs, six of which are in New York City. Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that those who come to one of the vaccination sites will receive a Johnson & Johnson vaccine so they will not need to return for a second appointment. Those who are vaccinated at one of the new hubs will receive a free 7-day unlimited MetroCard or two free rides on the LIRR or Metro-North train systems.
“You’re walking there anyway, it’s Johnson & Johnson, it’s one shot,” said Cuomo. “You don’t have to schedule a second shot, you don’t have to go back to that station, and you have a financial incentive.”
The new vaccination hubs come as vaccination rates in New York have declined throughout the month of April. So far, 16,826,409 total vaccine doses have been administered, with over 9.6 million 18+ New Yorkers with at least one dose and over 7.8 million that are fully vaccinated. However, from April 12 to May 9, the vaccination rates in New York have dropped 41%.
“This is not a New York phenomenon, this is a nationwide phenomenon,” said Cuomo. “Every governor is talking about the number of people now coming in for vaccines is declining.”
The sites will be available for commuters and MTA employees alike. The following stations will be offered as vaccination hubs:
- Penn Station, 34th Street Corridor, 3 to 8 p.m.
- Grand Central Station, Vanderbilt Hall, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- Coney Island, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- East 180th Street — Bronx, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- Broadway Junction, 3 to 8 p.m.
- 179th Street — Jamaica, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- Hempstead LIRR station, 3 to 8 p.m.
- Ossining — Metro-North, 3 to 8 p.m.
“The MTA is excited to be assisting in this important state effort to ensure that every New Yorker has easy access to a free COVID-19 vaccine. We’re committed to doing everything we can to help lead New York’s recovery,” said Sarah Feinberg, Interim President of NYC Transit Authority. “If the region is really going to recover, we need as many people as possible to get the vaccine, safety from COVID and safety from crime and harassment are what we need to get people back on mass transit.”
“We feel that this is an important step to help the region reopen and build back better,” said Pat Foye, Chairman and CEO of the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority. “We’ve focused on high traffic sites where we can vaccinate many customers and employees on a first-come, first-serve basis.”
On May 9, New York State had a COVID-19 positivity rate of 1.43%, with New York City at a 1.25% positivity rate overall. A total of 2,016 people were hospitalized with 493 in the ICU and 301 intubations. 27 New Yorkers succumbed to COVID-19 that day.
New York City saw the highest positivity rate in Staten Island with 1.46% and the lowest in Manhattan with 0.73%. The Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens saw positivity rates at 1.35%, 1.45% and 1.33%, respectively.