Abundance of COVID vaccine appointments available at Javits Center

City Councilman Mark Levine says that the Javits Center, which is run by the state, had been the most popular vaccination center in the city.

Video Transcript

- I appreciate the question. No, I am-- I feel great about the fact there's lots of appointments available and are easier for people. I mean, for God's sakes, we spent weeks and weeks where there was such intense demand and people had to wait quite a while, in many cases. And no one liked that.

I am so much happier with this situation, where people can get an appointment quickly. And it's unquestionably going to help us address some of the hesitancy issues, or something that maybe isn't quite hesitancy, Katie, but is just folks who are pretty much convinced, but you know, is it going to be easy, is it going to be hard to do, is it nearby, is it not nearby. You know, the more you make it easy and simple and close, the more people who will get engaged.

So no, I would say, if we're in a situation for the months ahead, particularly thinking up till June, when we want to get to that 5 million New Yorkers vaccinated, if it's-- you can go online and get an appointment anytime, that's the ideal. That's fantastic. Definitely seeing a decline in hesitancy, but we've got a lot more outreach work to do. And that's what we're deepening right now, because we think there's a whole other wave of people we can now get to, especially as it becomes easier to get an appointment. Dr. [INAUDIBLE].

- Thank you, Mr. Mayor, and thanks, Katie, for this important question. I agree with with the mayor in the description that it's a good thing that now, you know, appointments that were being snapped up literally within seconds of them being posted, there is now a longer window-- you know, not too long, hours or, in some cases, a day or two-- before they get filled. And that's very important, actually, to ensure that we are reaching the people that we want to reach with respect to vaccination, and not just the people who are most technologically savvy in actually accessing the appointment.

To that end, I would also emphasize that we're making appointments available through a number of different means beyond the websites. So for example, 877-VAX-4NYC is the phone number that people can call. We have appointments that are set aside and being booked through that phone number. And we do continue to see healthy demand from that channel, as well as many others, as well.

And the last part of what I want to say is just to emphasize that, as a city, we do not consider demand a static phenomenon. It's something that we have taken great care to influence along three dimensions, which I think of as access, outreach, and confidence. With respect to access, as you've heard us say, our focus is on meeting patients where they are, expanding the number of sites, expanding our mobile options, and really getting out into communities to offer vaccination. That's paired with the outreach plan, which is all of the work that we do to engage with faith leaders, community-based organizations, and all of the boots on the ground outreach, including the hundreds of canvassers who are out helping book appointments each day. I'm very grateful to our test and trace colleagues for that piece of it.

And the final one is confidence. This is about putting out science-based information, answering the questions that New Yorkers have about vaccination, and then, very importantly, encouraging everyone who has already been vaccinated to share their stories with a neighbor, with someone who's in your church or your synagogue or your temple congregation so that we can create a virtuous cycle of vaccination [INAUDIBLE].

- Thank you.