New York|New York City allows walk-in vaccinations at all city-run sites.
New York City is now allowing any eligible New Yorker to get vaccinated at city-run sites without an appointment, an attempt to simplify the inoculation process and expand access, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Friday.
“We want to make it simple,” Mr. de Blasio said at a news conference. “We want to encourage people. And let’s face it, convenience matters to New Yorkers.”
The city had begun allowing walk-in vaccinations for people older than 50 last week. Friday’s expansion to all eligible New Yorkers is limited to sites run by the city’s health department and its public hospital system, but as of Friday, New York State has also begun allowing walk-in vaccinations to anyone older than 60 at 16 of its vaccination sites, including five in New York City.
Being able to walk into a vaccine site will simplify a process that had confounded many New Yorkers desperately seeking vaccines. Appointments at all vaccination sites, including those run by the city, were elusive for months. New Yorkers often had to check dozens of websites, each with different sign-up protocol. In some cases, appointments seemed to disappear as residents were trying to book them.
Officials had long worried that navigating the complex system was a major barrier to the equitable distribution of the vaccines in New York.
As the supply of vaccines increased, appointments became far less scarce. Mr. de Blasio said that the city was now confident enough in its continued supply to eliminate the need for appointments.
Mr. de Blasio also said that the city was eliminating rules that restricted appointments to residents of neighborhoods surrounding certain sites.
The requirements were initially meant to address inequitable distribution of the vaccine and ensure that residents in harder-hit neighborhoods or boroughs had access to inoculations.
As of Friday, more than six million doses of Covid vaccines have been administered in New York City. According to the city’s data, 50 percent of residents over 18 have received at least one dose.
But inequity remains: 60 percent of eligible adults have received one dose of the vaccine in Manhattan, compared to 41 percent in the Bronx and 45 percent in Brooklyn.
Black and Latino residents are also being vaccinated at a slower pace than white residents. Of the city residents who received one dose and whose race was recorded, about 34 percent were white, 21 percent were Asian, 20 percent were Latino and 13 percent were Black. The city’s population is roughly 29 percent Latino and 24 percent Black.
The new walk-in policy does not expand eligibility requirements for the vaccine: Only those ages 16 and older can receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, and only those 18 and older can receive the Moderna vaccine.
Mr. de Blasio said the city was pressing community health centers to adopt similar policies. Officials were also urging private doctors to call their patients and urge them to get vaccinated.