Thousands of New York City straphangers will soon be able to receive a coronavirus vaccine while waiting for their subway or commuter train, as part of a new state-run pilot that will bring temporary inoculation sites to some of the city’s busiest transit hubs.
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the “creative idea” on Monday, which he said was aimed at boosting immunizations as the rate of vaccinations continues to slow in New York.
Between May 12th and May 16th, a total of eight new pop-up sites will offer the single-dose Johnson & Johnson shot to 300 people each day on a walk-in basis. As an added incentive, recipients will also get a 7-day unlimited MetroCard, or round-trip ticket for Long Island Rail Road/Metro-North rides.
“You are walking into the subway station anyway. You are walking past the vaccination site,” Cuomo said at a briefing on Monday. “It’s a one-shot vaccine.”
Grand Central Terminal and Penn Station — inside the 34th Street corridor — will be among the eight sites to host the new inoculation stations. Doses will also be available at Broadway Junction; the open mezzanine of the 179th Street F station in Jamaica, Queens; the hallway of the Bronx’s E. 180th Street 2/5 station; and an empty storefront adjacent to the Coney Island-Stillwell Avenue turnstiles.
Outside of the five boroughs, the Hempstead stop of the LIRR and the Metro-North’s Ossining station will host pop-up sites as well.
MTA officials praised the outreach effort, which coincides with pandemic-era records in both subway and rail ridership this weekend. The sites will also provide voluntary vaccines to transit workers, including subway and bus employees, who have so far recorded the lowest vaccination rate across the MTA.
“Ensuring easy access to free vaccinations is key to reopening New York and building back better,” MTA Chair Patrick Foye said in a statement. “The MTA is proud to do its part to help lead the State’s recovery and get the region back on track.”
“This seems like a nice and well-intentioned idea but who wants to get medical services inside a sort of scuzzy subway station?” wondered Daily News editorial board member Laura Nahmias.
More information about the hours and exact locations of the pop-up sites can be found here. If you do get vaccinated inside any of the city’s subway stations, share your experience with us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.