NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There are now three vaccination centers in New York City operating 24/7 in order to reach more New Yorkers.
CBS2’s Ali Bauman went to check them out overnight, but she found near-empty facilities turning dozens of eligible people away.
Thursday evening, hundreds of people desperately flocked to the Brooklyn Army Terminal after a hoax circulated online falsely claiming they were giving vaccine shots indiscriminately.
The city soon dispelled the rumor and sent everyone home.
It was a much different scene with similar frustration about 18 hours earlier when Bauman first got to the Brooklyn Army Terminal, just after 12 a.m. Thursday.
“A lot of people keep saying that they’re not going to take the vaccines, but then the ones who do wanna get it, we can’t get it,” one MTA train inspector said.
Brooklyn Army Terminal is one of three around-the-clock vaccination sites in the city, which earlier this week Mayor Bill de Blasio said were 100% booked.
“I figured let me just get the first appointment available and it was now,” Brooklyn resident Maria Bowen said.
At 1:44 a.m., the terminal was pretty quiet. Besides the staff, Bauman hadn’t seen anyone go into the vaccination center since at least 12:45 a.m.
Bauman quickly realized of the few people there, most came without appointments, and they were all turned away.
“I’ve been checking to try and get in this site for a couple days and I never even see this site. I know it exists, I click on it and then there’s never an appointment,” said Ed Kelly, of Sunset Park.
“They’re completely booked,” MTA bus driver Kevin Murphy said.
Murphy pulled his bus up hoping to get a leftover shot but left without. He’s been fighting cancer for 16 years.
“Since neither one of my lungs is 100%, it puts me in a high risk,” he said.
He wasn’t the only MTA employee who left disappointed.
“I’ve been trying and couldn’t do it online,” another employee said.
Around 2:40 a.m., Bauman went over to Manhattan’s hub — the Worth Street vaccination center. Walk-ins were welcomed there.
“Without an appointment at this hour,” one person said.
“Nobody else was there,” another person said.
But Howard Emmanuel, of Inwood, had an appointment and he was still turned away.
“They have no line, no waiting time. They wouldn’t give me the vaccine even though I’m on at-home oxygen,” he said.
Even though immunocompromised New Yorkers are now eligible, a city spokesperson told CBS2 they’re waiting on guidance from the state and CDC as to what specific conditions are included.
“People will die because of this failure,” Emmanuel said.
The city would not answer how many overnight appointments were booked, nor how many doses were administered overnight.
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