NEW YORK — Amid the din of train announcements and commuters shuffling to work it was a most unusual moment Wednesday: Workers at Grand Central Terminal, an historic landmark, doling out vaccines to anyone who wanted one.
What You Need To Know
- People lined up to get the vaccine at Grand Central Terminal for the first time on Wednesday
- Six vaccine sites are open Wednesday-Sunday at designated subway and train stations
- They will be distributed during morning and evening commutes
- The shot comes with a free 7-day MetroCard or round-trip LIRR or Metro-North pass
“You get everybody coming and going here and there so it’s a good idea,” said one of the first in line, Eric Bethea.
Grand Central is one of six train and subway stations citywide opening up vaccine sites, giving out the one-dose Johnson & Johnson shot on a first come, first serve basis.
It’s part of an initiative by the state to vaccinate more people. Numbers show just under 40% of New Yorkers are fully vaccinated.
“Driving up the vaccination rate is the key to opening up strong and rebuilding back better," said MTA Chairman and CEO Pat Foye. "We get only one shot at this, pun intended, and we can’t miss the moment. I’m bullish on New York and I know that we can rise to the challenge if we all pull together."
Wednesday through Sunday, anyone - not just New Yorkers - can get vaccinated at six city subway stations.
From 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., shots will be distributed at Grand central, the East 180th Street stop in the Bronx, the 179th Street station in Queens, and the Coney Island stop in Brooklyn.
Then starting at 3 p.m. until 8 p.m. you can get the shot at Penn Station, or the Broadway Junction subway stop in Brooklyn.
Outside of the city, there will be sites at the Long Island Rail Road stop in Hempstead, and a Metro-North station in Ossining.
Mauricio Perez, visiting from Colombia, was the first in line at Grand Central.
“We come here to take advantage of this vaccine I think it’s good for tourists and to increase the economic activity here in the country, I’m very happy for this vaccine,” Perez said.
There’s another big incentive for getting your shot here: As a bonus, you can get a free 7-day MetroCard or two one-way LIRR or Metro-North tickets.
It's something Felix Poma, who’s worked at a restaurant throughout the pandemic, is grateful for.
“I came to collect my free rides and get the vaccine at the same time,” Poma said.
Officials said each site has the capacity to give out between 200 and 300 shots per day, but have more supply available if necessary.
While this is a pilot program, the hope is to continue and expand based on demand.