ALBANY — All of New York’s mass COVID vaccination sites will switch from appointment to walk-in starting Thursday.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the change Tuesday and said it comes amid a marked decline in the number of vaccinations delivered each day.
The drop-off has been seen nationwide. The federal Centers for Disease Control indicates the United States peaked at 3.23 million doses a day April 10 on a seven-day rolling average. This dropped daily to 2.52 million doses on April 22, the last day for which full data are available.
Cuomo explained the decision as one of supply and demand: Doses of the vaccine, in such short supply for so long, now exceed the number of willing takers.
“The demand is reducing. Fewer people are asking for appointments,” he said. “Remember when we started, people were chasing appointments. You had to be an expert on the internet to figure out how to get an appointment. We’re now at a different place where we have open appointments at mass vaccination sites and vaccination sites almost all across the state.”
There are 30 mass vaccination sites statewide, three of them in or near the Capital Region: The Washington Avenue Armory in Albany, Crossgates Mall in Guiderland and Aviation Mall in Queensbury. Late Tuesday, the three had a combined 1,600-plus appointments available Wednesday.
Cuomo said the shift to walk-ins should attract those people who want the vaccine but were intimidated by the appointment-making process. New York has not, he said, reached the point of having vaccinated all willing recipients and being left to convince those who don’t want it to change their mind.
Those people do exist, the governor said, and fall into a few categories. He’s coined a taxonomy to these groups: Superhero, scientist, skeptic — those who think they’re invulnerable to the virus, or doubt the medical science behind the vaccine, or distrust the government and anyone else who urges that they get the shot.
“The more people vaccinated, the faster we defeat this disease once and for all, that is a fact,” Cuomo said. “More people vaccinated, the sooner we get back to life as normal and the more lives we save.”
Statewide, 44.6% of New Yorkers had received at least one dose of vaccine as of Tuesday morning and 31.9% were fully vaccinated. This compares with 42.7% and 29.1% nationwide.
At the county level, the following percentages have had at least one shot:
- Albany 52.2%
- Fulton 32.9%
- Montgomery 42.3%
- Rensselaer 46.7%
- Saratoga 51.4%
- Schenectady 53.1%
- Schoharie 37.4%