NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — Mayor Bill de Blasio is "whale-coming" a new COVID-19 vaccination site in New York City.
The mayor announced that starting Friday, New Yorkers will be able to get vaccinated directly below the blue whale at the American Museum of Natural History.
De Blasio said during his daily briefing Monday that the vaccination site will be open to everyone, but with a particular focus on public housing residents, cultural workers and museum staffs.
"We want to reach all these folks who we depend on to bring back our cultural community," de Blasio said. "This is an exciting new effort and I guarantee you a lot of people are going to say, 'That's where I want to get vaccinated.'"
The iconic whale is sporting a Band-Aid to mark the occasion.
"Having the vaccination site kick off under our beloved blue whale is very meaningful to all of us at the museum," museum director Ellen Futter said. "I know that in years to come we will look at images of New Yorkers getting vaccinated under the whale and it will be a snapshot of New York and New Yorkers fighting back, caring for themselves, caring for one another and of the time when things started to turn for the better."
Appointments will be available Friday through Tuesday each week from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. The site will offer approximately 1,000 shots per day.
Everyone who gets their shot at the museum will receive a voucher for complimentary general admission on a future visit for up to four people.
New York City has so far administered more than 5.7 million vaccines. On Friday, the city set a record for single-day vaccinations with 106,528 shots getting into arms.
"That's a really good sign, but I do think we're going to have to do more to attract people going forward," de Blasio said as overall the dynamics start to change around the vaccination effort.
Supply is starting to catch up with demands, appointments are now readily available and just under half of the city's residents have at least one shot.
"Folks can finally get appointments when it works for them, when they feel ready," the mayor said, adding that they still have more work to do to reach certain communities.
The city has more than 600 vaccination sites across the five boroughs.
Over the weekend, the city expanded eligibility for walk-in vaccinations to those 50 and older at city-run sites. The mayor said the city hopes to grow that effort to offer more appointment-free shots.
New Yorkers can also schedule appointments and locate their nearest city-run vaccine site by visiting nyc.gov/vaccinefinder or calling 1-877-VAX-4-NYC.