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New York City Officials Focus On Efforts To Overcome COVID Vaccine Hesitancy

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A nationwide drop in the number of people getting vaccinated for COVID-19 is driving politicians and business leaders to pull out all the stops to overcome vaccine hesitancy.

There are walk-in services and all kinds of incentives, CBS2's political reporter Marcia Kramer reported Friday. But will they work?

natural history museum blue whale bandage vacine kramer
(credit: CBS2)

The American Museum of Natural History put a six foot long bandage on the left fin of its massive blue whale as an enticement to New Yorkers to get a COVID vaccine. But so far, the creative gimmick doesn't appear to be working.

CBS2's cameras found a virtually empty room - there were technicians standing around and waiting for patients.

So, the museum is upping the ante.

"Everyone who is vaccinated here will receive a voucher for up to four people to return for a future visit," said the museum's president Ellen Futter.


The move comes as demand for COVID shots is softening nationwide. About 3 million people are getting vaccinated daily - an 11% decrease in the seven-day average.

Vaccine hesitancy appears to be a big reason why.

"I absolutely do not trust it," said Tenisha Ortiz. "The medical system doesn't have a history of curing, it has a history of masking symptoms."

"I work at the hospital, but I didn't get it when it first came out," said Zenesi Salazar from the Bronx.

"I will wait on, I guess, the hard community, for everybody else to get vaccinated, and then I'll be all right," said DeShawn Pierce from Newark.

WATCH: Mayor De Blasio's 4/23/21 COVID Update 

Now, everyone's trying to come up with incentives. The insurance company Cigna is offering its 65,000 employees $200 in their health spending account if they're fully vaccinated, plus time off to get the shot.

New York City moved to make it easier for people to get vaccinated. Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city's vaccination sites would allow anyone who lives in the state and is eligible to walk in without an appointment.

"You want a recovery? Get vaccinated," de Blasio said.


New York officials are also looking to up the ante.

"We're going to make it fun and we're going to make it easy and we're going to make it exciting in lots of ways, and a lot more to say on that in the coming weeks," de Blasio said.

"And that's what we're trying to do now. Access. You could just walk up, we'll bring it to you, we'll come to your community, we'll come to your housing complex, we'll come to your senior citizen home," said Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

You can walk in and get at vaccine at certain sites run by the state, too. The governor also announced five new pop-up sites for bodega and supermarket workers.

Watch Marcia Kramer's report 

Meanwhile, the city of Hoboken is now hoping to get back to delivering Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccines to homebound seniors after that program and some clinics were put on hold.

"J&J is very important because it's one dose, and for those difficult to get to, it was a real benefit for us," said Leo Pellegrini, Hoboken's director of health and human services. "There seems to be supply right now, so don't be hesitant."

"If there is hesitancy with Johnson & Johnson, how do you plan to overcome that in Hoboken?" CBS2's Jessica Layton asked.

"I think the best way to overcome it here in Hoboken is just to communicate to the public ... and hopefully we can continue to build that confidence again," Pellegrini said.

CBS2's Jessica Layton contributed to this report.

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