It was a different kind of opening day at Yankee Stadium today.
They arrived by the hundreds, with many waiting on line as early as 6AM despite the cold rain this morning, to get inoculated against COVID-19 on the first day of a mass vaccination operation at Yankee Stadium for Bronx residents only.
After data revealed that despite making over 50% of New York City’s population, with Black residents making up 24% of the population and Latinos 29%, only 11% and 15% of the that segment of the population (respectively) had received the COVID-19 vaccine.
To ensure that the vaccine is distributed equitably and prevent people from traveling in and taking spots intended for local residents, Governor Cuomo announced last week that Yankee Stadium would become a mass vaccination site exclusively for Bronx residents.
On Wednesday, registration opened up online and by telephone operated by SOMOS Community Care who’s also operating the vaccination site at the stadium and by yesterday evening, all appointments were booked for the first four days of operation.
According to Councilman Mark Levine (D), who represents parts of Upper Manhattan and is the Chair of Council Committee on Health, the mass vaccination site at Yankee Stadium can handle “…2,000+ per day” with many slots at each time interval.
Going by those numbers, it would appear then that over 10,000 residents have made appointments already given that there are no appointments through Tuesday, February 9th.
But not everyone who showed up today had an appointment. At least 50 people, some who claimed they arrived at 6AM said they either didn’t know they needed to make an appointment or couldn’t get through.
Many local activists have been vocal about how the appointment system is not geared to local residents who may not have internet access or cannot easily navigate the website which may be user friendly to many but to someone with limited or no internet access may appear a daunting task particularly for the elderly who are some of the most vulnerable.
These same activists, including Welcome2TheBronx, helped people get their appointments throughout the day yesterday and continuing to make sure everyone that wants one, can get an appointment.
Appointments are still available online or by calling 1-833-SOMOSNY.
Now if we can only get more vaccines rolled out to even more people.