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By Briana Bonfiglio and Emily Davenport

New York is “getting creative” to incentivize and make it easier for more people to get vaccinated for Covid-19, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Monday.

From Wednesday, May 12 through Sunday, May 16, commuters, MTA workers, and any New York residents can get the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine at eight different locations across New York’s railroad and subway system, including the Hempstead Long Island Rail Road Station and Penn Station in Manhattan. In return for getting the vaccine, the state will give residents either one free, round-trip LIRR ticket or a 7-day Metrocard for use on the New York City subways.

“You’re walking there anyway, it’s Johnson & Johnson, it’s one shot,” Cuomo said. “You don’t have to schedule a second shot, you don’t have to go back to that station, and you have a financial incentive.”

The pop-up sites come as vaccination rates in New York have declined throughout the month of April. So far, about 16.8 million total vaccine doses have been administered, with over 9.6 million 18+ New Yorkers with at least one dose and over 7.8 million that are fully vaccinated. However, from April 12 to May 9, the vaccination rates in New York have dropped 41%.

“This is not a New York phenomenon, this is a nationwide phenomenon,” Cuomo said. “Every governor is talking about the number of people now coming in for vaccines is declining.”

The sites will be available for commuters and MTA employees alike. The following stations will be offered as vaccination hubs:

Penn Station, 34th Street Corridor, 3 to 8 p.m.

Grand Central Station, Vanderbilt Hall, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Coney Island, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

East 180th Street — Bronx, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Broadway Junction, 3 to 8 p.m.

179th Street — Jamaica, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Hempstead LIRR station, 3 to 8 p.m.

Ossining — Metro-North, 3 to 8 p.m.

“The MTA is excited to be assisting in this important state effort to ensure that every New Yorker has easy access to a free Covid-19 vaccine. We’re committed to doing everything we can to help lead New York’s recovery,” said Sarah Feinberg, Interim President of NYC Transit Authority. “If the region is really going to recover, we need as many people as possible to get the vaccine, safety from Covid and safety from crime and harassment are what we need to get people back on mass transit.”

“We feel that this is an important step to help the region reopen and build back better,” said Pat Foye, Chairman and CEO of the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority. “We’ve focused on high traffic sites where we can vaccinate many customers and employees on a first-come, first-serve basis.”

On May 9, New York State had a Covid-19 positivity rate of 1.43%, with Long Island at a 1.43% positivity rate overall. A total of 2,016 people were hospitalized with 493 in the ICU and 301 intubations. 27 New Yorkers succumbed to COVID-19 that day. 

Cuomo also announced on Monday that the State and City University of New York systems will require students to get the Covid-19 vaccine to return to in-person instruction for the fall 2021 semester. He also encouraged private colleges in the state to require the same.

For more coronavirus coverage, visit longislandpress.com/coronavirus.

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