NEW YORK — The city will give $100 to anyone who gets the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at an NYC-run site starting this Friday, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Wednesday.
"It does not get better than that," de blasio said at a news conference.
The new push comes as the city tries to increase vaccination rates amid a rise in coronavirus cases fueled by the delta variant.
“There are a huge number of New Yorkers open to vaccination, they just haven’t quite gotten there,” the mayor said. “I think when someone says, ‘Here’s $100 for you,’ it’s going to make a big impact, particularly in a world in which more and more things are going to be determined by whether you’re vaccinated or not. That’s where things are going. So we just want to supercharge it by saying, ‘We’re giving an extra direct personal incentive to get this done now.’”
NYC residents and employees will be eligible for the $100 incentive, which will be available digitally by entering your email address or through the mail for a physical pre-paid debit card.
New Yorkers have seen a wide range of incentives to get the vaccine, including tickets to sporting events, cultural institutions and ferry tickets.
Amilcarr Ramirez, who has lived in the Chelsea neighborhood for decades, thinks it’s a great idea, especially since he vividly remembers seeing hospitals use refrigerator trucks to store bodies during the height of the pandemic. And his daughter works in the medical field. He hopes the $100 makes a difference.
“You can see the restaurants, everybody’s just letting their guard down just because they’re young. Some of them might not be vaccinated,” Ramirez said.
Other New Yorkers we talked to had mixed feelings about the incentive.
“I mean, it’s somewhat disappointing that it actually has come to the point of paying people for it, but if it’s actually gonna help people get vaccinated and the cause I’m all for it,” said Stephen Doyle, a Williamsburg resident.
In a reversal, the Centers for Disease Control on Tuesday said that it is now recommending people who are fully vaccinated to wear masks indoors in certain settings, including public spaces indoors in regions of the country where coronavirus cases are rising.
New York City is one of the areas where the risk of coronavirus transmission is seen as “high” or “substantial" and where mask usage is being recommended.
“We are assessing the new information from the CDC right now,” said de Blasio. “We got it less than 24 hours ago, and it is complicated information, so our health team is reviewing it, and we’ll have more to say on it in the next few days.”
Gov. Andrew Cuomo reiterated on Wednesday the state is reviewing the CDC's indoor mask guidance with federal and international health experts. But areas of concern with high COVID rates should "seriously consider" the CDC's new mask guidance, he said.
"Even in New York City, it's in certain locations and that tracks the vaccination rate and the positivity rate," Cuomo said.
De Blasio said more mandates for the city will be announced in the coming days.
CDC officials also recommended universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students and visitors to schools, regardless of vaccination status. New York City schools are expected to return to full in-person learning this fall with a mask requirement in place.
Nick Reisman contributed to this report.