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The mass vaccination site set to open at Yankee Stadium still has thousands of open timeslots for appointments, City Councilman Mark Levine noted Thursday afternoon, as he questioned whether New York has conducted enough outreach to drum up interest in the shots.
The inoculation hub — which is strictly reserved for residents of The Bronx, the city’s hardest-hit borough of late — will finally host opening day on Friday, following delays due to severe shot shortages.
But early sign-ups since the opening was announced Wednesday haven’t exactly been a home run, observed Levine, a Manhattan Democrat who chairs the council’s health committee.
“There are still 1000s of vaccine appts available at Yankee stadium next week. They are not disappearing fast,” Levine tweeted Thursday afternoon, along with a screenshot showing wide-open slots on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
Levine added that the glut of unclaimed appointments is a double-edged sword.
“This is good news—but also bad news,” he wrote. “It means NYC is not doing enough outreach to people on the ground. The City should have teams out all over the Bx signing people up.”
The Yankee Stadium site is being run as a joint venture between the city and the state, with SOMOS, a network of community doctors, spearheading the operations on the ground.
A City Hall spokeswoman countered that an outreach effort is well underway in The Bronx to spread the word and help facilitate sign-ups.
“We have canvassers today and tomorrow out in the surrounding area providing vaccine FAQs and helping eligible residents make appointments on the spot,” the spokeswoman said.
And in a press briefing held prior to Levine’s tweet, de Blasio heralded the opening of the Yankee Stadium site and encouraged Bronxites to sign up.
“We look forward to Bronxites stepping up, getting vaccinated at a great, great locations, and that will help us move forward,” de Blasio said Thursday morning, adding that those interested in signing up can log on to somosvaccinations.com, or call 833-SOMOSNY.
The city has previously come under fire for a convoluted online sign-up process for its own vaccination hubs that confounded seniors, and admitted that it has to do more to encourage minority communities to get their shots.