NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — More COVID-19 vaccination sites are opening in a push to speed up the inoculation process.
Starting Monday, millions more New Yorkers, including teachers and seniors, will become eligible for the vaccine, CBS2’s Dave Carlin reported Sunday.
At the grand opening of a vaccine hub in Queens, Carlin witnessed nursing student Jacqueline Pina get the shot that she will soon be giving to others.
“I’m going to have to be doing this, so I wanted to get the experience,” Pina said.
Mayor Bill de Blasio was also there, getting a tour of the vaccine set up inside Hillcrest High School in Jamaica Heights.
Lines formed outside the city’s pair of mass vaccination sites, which opened Sunday to handle big crowds.
After an initial ramping up, they will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They are at the Brooklyn Army Terminal annex and in the Bronx at Bathgate Industrial Park, where Carlin found a crowd of mostly health and medical professionals feeling grateful.
“I am looking forward to getting it,” Dave Coleman said.
“It kind of feels like the end of light at the end of the tunnel,” registered nurse Melissa Marrero said.
Some in line on the first day of appointments admitted to being a little nervous.
“With anything that’s new, there’s always gonna be a mixed feeling,” clinical social worker Eddie Pabon said. “I think right now the safest route for most of us is the vaccine.”
“I think everybody just needs to get the vaccine, get better, start to heal, heal their souls,” another woman added.
In advance of Monday’s expanded vaccine eligibility that includes teachers, a union stepped up to streamline the process.
Last week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo urged the state’s large agencies and unions to create their own vaccination plans.
Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers, said his union did it.
“UFT members, we want to know if you want it and we’re going to go directly to the private health care providers who have vaccine to get that for you,” Mulgrew said.
CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text COVID to 692692 | NJ COVID-19 Info Hub | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211 | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
No matter your category, before you go, fill out a form for approval and an appointment, and make sure you have proof of employment like a work ID or recent pay stub.
On Wednesday, the Javits Center will transform into a vaccine distribution center after previously serving as a field hospital in the early days of the pandemic.
“You go directly to be vaccinated and afterwards you stay in an observation room for about 15 minutes,” said NYC Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi.
The new sites open as the state expands eligibility for the vaccine.
ELSEWHERE IN THE TRI-STATE AREA
Starting Monday in New York, those over the age of 75, plus education workers and first responders will be among those who can sign up.
“We will get the vaccine out as quickly as we get the vaccine in,” Curran said
The openings and tours let the public know as soon as they are eligible, they can get vaccinated.
But that’s provided the vaccines, including new ones, continue to get pushed into the pipeline from the federal government to the states, and to mega sites and smaller local hubs.
BIG NEWS: We just exceeded 200,000 vaccinations statewide, with a current total of 200,204.
We’re working strategically and efficiently to vaccinate our frontline health care workers, law enforcement and fire professionals, and long-term care center residents and staff.
— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) January 9, 2021
“Circling this day on the calendar for a while,” said Lucas Calhoun, of South Orange. “It’s just a peace of mind that has been granted to us.”
This spot in the mall is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. It’s one of four in Essex County. A fifth will open before the end of January.
CBS2’s Dave Carlin and Christina Fan contributed to this report.
MORE FROM CBS NEW YORK: