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COVID Vaccine: Historic Abyssinian Baptist Becomes First Church In New York City To Administer Shots

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Throughout the weekend the state's vaccination program expanded to several sites in underserved communities. On Sunday, for the first time, a church opened its doors for appointments.

That's right. The historic Abyssinian Baptist Church on West 138th Street filled all 250 appointments, CBS2's Lisa Rozner reported.

It is in partnership with the state and SOMOS Community Care, which is doing the scheduling.

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Last week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced residents age 65 and older and those who are immunocompromised are eligible for the vaccine.


People were getting vaccinated at the church from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.

But even those who couldn't get an appointment waited for hours outside in hopes of there being a cancellation.

"The fact that we have that opportunity is priceless," Harlem resident Clarice Turnbull said.

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Rozner spoke to Pastor Calvin Butts and people who got vaccinated Sunday.

"People trust their church. We've been here for 213 years and they believe that we would bring them something that would be good for the health of the community," Butts said.


"I'm just wondering why the communities that were hit the hardest were the last to get vaccines. We got Harlem Hospital. They were were dying over there 10, 20 a day. My mom and brother died over there," a resident said.

"It went beautiful. I'm in a shelter around the corner, so I need this because it's a lot of people in there and so I need this so I can live," Harlem resident Frank Solomon-Williams said.

Another 250 slots are already filled for Monday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

On Saturday, vaccination clinics opened for seniors at New York City Housing Authority developments in Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island.

On Sunday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said those 65 years and older can request transportation to their appointment when registering, but he's also anticipating the supply of vaccine city wide will run out by the end of the week.

Because of dwindling supply, Mount Sinai cancelled appointments through Tuesday and the Brooklyn Army Terminal 24-7 vaccination site is closed. More than 7 million New Yorkers are eligible for the vaccine. Yet the state is only scheduled to get 250,000 more doses from the federal government.

CBS2's Lisa Rozner contributed to this report


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