Abundance of COVID vaccine appointments available at Javits Center in New York City

Coronavirus vaccine update
NEW YORK (WABC) -- New York City's Javits Center has an abundance of COVID vaccination appointments available, and that's concerning some officials.

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

The councilmember announced on his Twitter account that some 6,000 appointments for the Pfizer vaccine had opened at midnight for those ages 16 and up.

However, as of Thursday morning, Levine said that almost all of the appointments remained, including 1,000 for Friday.

"This is a deeply worrying development," he said.

Levine called it a "tipping point" in the effort to vaccinate New York City's residents.

"After months of intense competition for appts, slots are now filling much more slowly. Our challenge is no longer managing the crush of demand. It's bringing vax to people who need it, and building trust in this life-saving solution," Levine tweeted.

He urged people to help get the word out and offer to help others make appointments.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said that the available appointments did not signal a decrease in demand or a problem in encouraging people to book vaccinations.

"I feel great about the fact that there are lots of appointments for people and they are easier to get," he said. "I am so much happier with the situation where people can get an appointment quickly."
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Mayor de Blasio said he thinks the increased availability of appointments is a positive development.

He added that the more you can make it easy, simple, and close for people, the more they will engage in the process.

"I agree with the mayor in the description that it's a good thing," NYC Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi said. "There's now a longer window, not too long, hours or in some cases a day or two before they get filled."

Dr. Chokshi said it gives the city the opportunity now to reach the people they really want to reach, and not just those who are technologically savvy.

He noted that the city's hotline, 1-877-VAX-4NYC, has appointments set aside for those who prefer to use the phone instead of booking their COVID vaccination online.

"We do not consider demand a static phenomenon," Chokshi said. Noting the city's plan to increase access, outreach, and confidence.

The Javits Center has ceased using the Johnson & Johnson vaccine while a CDC advisory panel reviews six cases of blood clotting in patients. Those showing up for appointments at the Javits Center will receive the Pfizer COVID vaccine.

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