Every New Yorker 16 and over is vaccine-eligible, but only about half have gotten even one jab. We all need to do better, so the greatest city in the world can get back to being great, with crowded streets and that familiar electricity in the air.
And, yes, elected leaders need to make it easier.
Mayor Bill de Blasio says the city has seen a dropoff in demand, as vaccine appointments go untaken every day in every borough. The obvious fix: Let anyone walk into a clinic without an appointment and get jabbed.
The city’s Health + Hospitals system, for example, has multiple signs at its vax clinics warning that walk-ins aren’t allowed, even as its website shows many same-day appointments available.
Fact is, the online registration process is needlessly intimidating, with different sites listing state- and city-run clinics, plus private providers. Some make you enter in a ton of data before you can even see what appointments are available; others make you sign up for an account first. You have to answer lots of questions and fill out forms — and may have to give the same info again at the clinic.
What’s the point, when vaccines are plentiful?
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday that state-run vax sites will let over-60s walk in without an appointment starting Friday; the city already allows 50-and-ups to do so. Why any age limits at all?
Yes, the feds deserve some blame for the drop in demand: Putting a pause on the Johnson & Johnson jab was absurd — the possible blood-clot risk is one-in-a-million, far smaller than the odds of death if you don’t get vaccinated. Yet polls suggest trust in the J&J shot dropped 15 percent after the pause.
The move also fed fears about all the vaccines, feeding the conspiracy theories of anti-vax cranks.
The likes of Dr. Anthony Fauci aren’t helping, either, by insisting Americans still wear masks even after they’ve been fully vaccinated. Too many people will ask, “Well, then, what’s the point of getting the jab?”
Don’t let him discourage you. Vaccinations are exactly how we stop wearing masks. We already should be back in school, and eating out, if it weren’t for the undue caution of de Blasio and Cuomo. But if you get vaccinated, they have no excuse.
Kudos to Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont, who announced this week he’ll lift all COVID restrictions (minus the mask mandate) on May 19, as long as cases continue to decline and citizens keep getting the shot. As he rightly noted, businesses, including restaurants, have been doing a great job of implementing safety precautions.
The Empire State and the city should follow suit: Putting normalcy in everyone’s sight is the best way to send the “get vaxxed” message.