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.
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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. 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 Promobile Kitchen, Daybreak Health, and the city.
“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.
The mayor says there have been 4.6 million doses administered in the city so far.
“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. Next, the bus will move on Saturday to Union Avenue and North 10th Street in Williamsburg.