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COVID Vaccine Hub Opens At Empire State Building With New Perks, But Not Many People

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Two more COVID vaccine hubs opened Friday in New York, including one at the Empire State Building that comes with some perks.

But as CBS2's John Dias reported, the incentives aren't necessarily leading to more shots in arms.

Photos from inside the vaccination hub showed hardly anyone there during setup, and it didn't get much better once it fully opened. Dias saw only a few people going in.

"It's the first day, so you've got to see as a different day comes in," Ramon Tallaj Jr. told Dias.

SOMOS Community Care partnered with New York State to open the pop-up clinic. They hoped more people would show up, even giving the first 100 a free ticket to the Observatory.


One woman who just moved back into the city and got a shot was all about the perks.

"The only reason I waited so long to get vaccinated was because I wasn't here," said Chessie Daparma. "I think the more needles in arms, the better. So whatever is going to get people through the door."

The free observatory ticket is the latest incentive to be offered, but many think the approach may not be the best. Friday's low attendance may be proof.

"I'm sure there's people out there that are waiting for a better incentive," said Alexis Arvelo, of the Upper West Side. "Maybe they're waiting for free mortgage payment?"

"It's not working," a Staten Island woman added, saying time is the only thing that will help. "I have friends who say, 'I'm waiting to see what side effects other people get.'"


On Thursday, it was announced Macy's Fourth of July fireworks show would return this year. On Friday, Citi Field expanded to 90% capacity for vaccinated fans during Mets home games.

However, health experts warn the city can only make a full comeback when it reaches herd immunity, which is in jeopardy. Only 46% of city residents are fully vaccinated, and the mayor's five million vaccine goal by the end of June seems unlikely.

While New York City may not reach its goal this month, Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the state is ahead of schedule.

The Empire State Building vaccine hub will be open until Sunday. The College of Staten Island also opened a new hub on Friday that will be open until Thursday.

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