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COVID Vaccine: City Rolls Out Bus To Get As Many Hard-To-Reach New Yorkers Vaccinated As Possible

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A new mobile vaccine bus is rolling around the five boroughs trying to get as many people as possible to roll up their sleeves and get a COVID-19 shot.

But first it's targeting some specific groups of people.

CBS2's Natalie Duddridge saw two buses on Wednesday. The first was the vaccination bus. After getting the shot, patients walk over to the 15-minute observation bus to make sure they don't have a reaction.

The idea is to get to bring shots into hard-to-reach areas and focus on getting restaurant workers, undocumented New Yorkers and, eventually, the city's homeless population.


Duddridge took a tour of the city's first mobile vaccination buses. They will be parked for the next three days in Sunset Park on 7th Avenue, near 54th.

"I think it's great. It's easy for everybody, gets done faster. I think a lot of people were not doing it because it's hard to get an appointment. It's hard to get to places where you have to take the vaccine," said Christian Obredin said, an employee at Peter Luger's Steak House.

READ MORECOVID Vaccine: Nassau County To Start Push To Inoculate Homebound Residents And Others With Disabilities

The roving bus will focus on restaurant workers like Obredin, as well as undocumented people, many who work in food service.

"There's 500,000 New Yorkers who work in restaurants and we want to find all of them who want to be vaccinated and make it easier for them," said Sean Feeney, co-founder of Relief Opportunities for All Restaurants -- or ROAR.

The mobile vaccination bus is a joint effort between ROAR, Promobile Kitchen, Daybreak Health, and the city.

"They were out of work. They were in a bus yard and we had the idea that we could turn these buses through design and fabrication into mobile vaccine clinics that can basically go anywhere," said Giovanni Martinez, director of client services for Promobile.

"This bus is really exciting. It's going to be a game changer, as well. We could do up to 200 vaccinations per day," Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

It will administer the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.


Dr. Ted Long of NYC Health + Hospitals gave the media a tour of the bus, explaining, "There's going to be six exam rooms, so that we can be doing six vaccines at any given moment here. This is our refrigerator here, where we keep all of the vaccine."

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For now, people have to make an appointment online or by phone. Eventually, walkups may be available.

To be as accessible as possible, the mobile clinics will accommodate multiple languages.

"I feel good. I'm glad they have the bus here. It's so easy, because I don't have a car. It's so inconvenient to travel too far," restaurant worker Elane Xi said.

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The mayor said Wednesday there have been 4.6 million doses administered in the city so far and added the city will start offering walk-up vaccinations for people 75 and over at 25 sites sites in all five boroughs. The city will also be doubling the number of vaccine pop-ups, including at to consulates, retirement homes, and 12 New York City Housing Authority locations.

"Very important, very important," one woman said of the city's vaccine program.

"Very good. They are handling it very well," another said.

The bus is the latest addition to city's mobile fleet of 20 vans and it will remain in Sunset Park until 3 p.m. on Friday before moving on Saturday to Union Avenue and North 10th Street in Williamsburg.

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