NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It got a lot easier to get a COVID vaccine for some New Yorkers on Saturday.
City-run vaccination sites are now taking walk-in appointments for anyone over the age of 50.
READ MORE: COVID Vaccine In New York: Walk-In Appointments Offered To All New Yorkers Over 50 At City-Run Sites
As CBS2’s John Dias reports, the city is hoping this new lowered age limit will help stop COVID vaccines from piling up.
A 62-year-old Bronx woman says she was feeling hopeless after trying to get an appointment for weeks.
“Try, try and couldn’t get it,” she said.
But things changed Saturday. Now, she can just walk in.
“So this time, perfect,” she said.
New Yorkers 50 and up are allowed to go to any city-run COVID vaccination site, no reservation needed.
The Armory in Washington Heights has an even lower age rule, offering walk-ins to New Yorkers 18 and older.
In Brooklyn, Richard Rivera says this hassle-free way is the best.
“It’s a lot easier. I didn’t want to get involved with making phone calls,” he said. “This is better. You just go in and out.”
Previously, walk-in appointments were only available for New Yorkers 75 and older, and a plus one.
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With supply now outpacing demand, the city is confident they can lower the age range.
“They can all come here and know that there’s going enough for them to be taken care of,” said Linda Thompson, health ministry leader at Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem.
She says within the first hour the church’s vaccination site opened, close to 20 people came in with no appointment.
“Have worries totally dissipated,” she said.
Earlier this week, the challenge of finding an appointment in the city had apparently eased up. For the first time, thousands of appointments were not immediately claimed, allowing one family that has been surviving the pandemic together to get protected together.
“I thought it was a miracle. We were all back-to-back,” Monica Tracey said.
Some feared stockpiles of vaccines may grow or vaccines would start to go to waste if appointments were unused, but experts say that’s not the case.
“We don’t mix until we have patients here, so we haven’t wasted anything,” said Yadira Rosemin, associate director at the MSK Raul Lauren Center in Harlem.
According to the mayor’s office, on Friday, New York set a new vaccination record with more than 106,000 doses administered.
The mayor says the city is on its way to fully vaccinating 5 million New Yorkers by June.
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Gov. Andrew Cuomo says statewide, almost 41% of New Yorkers have received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine.