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‘Whalecome’ news: American Museum of Natural History becomes COVID-19 vaccination site

On Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio made a ‘whale’ of an announcement: the American Museum of Natural History will be turned into a COVID-19 vaccination site.

“This is an exciting new effort and I guarantee you that a lot of people are going to say ‘that’s where I want to get vaccinated,” said de Blasio.

New Yorkers can start getting the shot underneath the museum’s iconic blue whale model starting this Friday, April 23. 

Transforming one of that city’s, and nation’s, most visited cultural institution into a vaccination site will boost vaccination numbers. “The more sites the better, the more sites the more comfortable people get,” said de Blasio. 

All New Yorkers are eligible to vaccinated at the site but public housing residents, cultural workers, members of the union DC37, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employee members and museum staff will be given priority at first, de Blasio clarified.

As of Monday, over 5,746,370 New York City residents have received at least one shot of a vaccine, according to City data. 

“I really can image this, we’ll look at images of New Yorkers getting vaccinated under the whale and it will be a snapshot of New York and New Yorkers fighting back, caring for themselves, caring for one another and of the time when things started to turn for the better, “said Ellen Futter, president of the American Museum of Natural History, who briefly joined de Blasio for the announcement.  

The over 150-year-old institution located on Manhattan’s Upper West Side was shuttered for six months last year due to the pandemic. It reopened its doors to the general public at a reduced capacity and with mask-wearing protocols for visitors last September. 

New Yorkers interested in scheduling a vaccination appointment can visit NYC.Gov/VaccineFinder or call 877-VAX-4NYC. 

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