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A hotdog from Coney Island, an “I ❤ NY” T-shirt from Times Square… and a COVID-19 vaccine from the Department of Health.
Mayor Bill de Blasio wants to make a jab in the arm the Big Apple’s next great souvenir — by offering the coronavirus vaccine to tourists, he announced Thursday. But the state would need to approve the idea.
“This summer you’re going to see tourism come alive again in New York City,” de Blasio said during a City Hall press briefing. “We want to go the extra mile, make it easy for tourists, if they’re here, get vaccinated while you’re here.”
The de Blasio administration is hoping to set up mobile immunization sites at popular destinations around the city like Times Square, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Central Park, and the High Line in order to get out-of-towners inoculated against COVID-19 with Johnson & Johnson’s one-dose vaccine, Hizzoner said.
“It makes sense to put mobile vaccination sites where the tourists are,” de Blasio said. “That is good for all of us that they get vaccinated. It’s good for them, it’s another reason to be here and know you’re going to be taken care of.”
People who receive the J&J shot aren’t considered fully vaccinated until two weeks after the jab, according to the CDC.
The city would need approval from the Cuomo administration to vaccinate out-of-towners, as current state rules only allow people who live, work or study in New York to be inoculated there.
“We need the state to alter the rule that will allow us to provide vaccinations to folks from out of town,” de Blasio said.
De Blasio said that the effort to get tourists jabbed will start “as soon as we get that approval.”
“We’re ready to go this weekend,” he said. “We want to welcome more and more people into the vaccination effort.”
A spokesman for Gov. Andrew Cuomo did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday on whether the state will approve de Blasio’s plan.
To date, more than 6.8 million vaccine doses have been administered in the city.
As of Thursday, over 3.6 million New Yorkers or 55 percent of the city’s adult population has received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, data shows.
Forty-two percent, or more than 2.7 million Big Apple residents, have been fully vaccinated, according to the data.
The Post reported this week that the number of New York City residents getting their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine has plummeted by two-thirds in recent weeks.
De Blasio said Thursday that he still believes the city will hit his goal of having 5 million New Yorkers fully vaccinated by June.
Additional reporting by Bernadette Hogan
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