STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — When the Empire Outlets open Thursday for COVID-19 vaccinations, Terrence Elliott won’t be in line.
“To me it takes a long time to create a vaccine to a new disease or something and this is rushed out, so I don’t trust it,” he said.
Though the vaccine is FDA approved and is scientifically tested, the Stapleton resident says he’s not ready to get the shot despite being eligible.
The outlets will serve as the borough's first mass vaccination site. Its opening was delayed due to a shortage of doses.
It’ll be for Staten Islanders only, with appointments available seven days a week from 8 a. m. to 5 p.m.
The shots will be given in an empty storefront next to iOptics and Jewelers on Fifth.
“I’m gonna sign up. This is great location for the vaccine, a lot of people go back and fourth to work here so it’s easy for them,” said John Capone of Oakwood Beach.
The Empire Outlets are located right next to the St George Ferry Terminal. The outdoor mall has a parking garage that can fit 1,200 cars. Free parking will be offered to the first 1,000 people to help incentivize people to get the vaccine.
After that it’ll cost $5 for three hours. The area also has several public transit options nearby.
“This is very good idea, I think. A lot of people are waiting to take the vaccine,” said Mahmudul Dewan, who lives in St. George.
New city numbers show Staten Island and Manhattan leading the five boroughs when it comes to COVID-19 vaccinations.
But for people like Terrence Elliott, the skepticism is real.
“Tell the Mayor to come take it first. Half the people I work with we don’t wanna take it, let other people take it and if they’re okay in two years, then we will take it,” he said.
The Mayor says the city is working on getting a vaccine hub on Staten Island's south shore.
Appointments at the Empire Outlets are required.