NYC opens vaccine clinics at SUBWAY stops and is giving people a 7-day pass of free rides

Hundreds of New Yorkers were seen lining up to receive COVID-19 vaccines and a free train pass at subway stops around the Big Apple on Wednesday.

Even though many New Yorkers still won’t ride the subway, some people stood in line at Grand Central Terminal an hour before the vaccine site opened at 8am – and nearly 100 people had been vaccinated in just two hours, Gothamist reported.

The vaccine site at Grand Central is one of eight train stations offering vaccines through Sunday as part of a pilot program run by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The program had been announced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday. 

MTA officials said at a press conference that the agency had enough of the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine to inoculate as many as 300 people at each subway and train site per day. Six of the sites were in the city with one on Long Island and another in Westchester County.

New Yorkers praised the convenience of getting the jab and a free MetroCard even as the financially exhausted MTA has staved off massive cuts to subway service for the next two years after receiving federal aid and a bump in tax revenue. A weeklong unlimited MetroCard costs $33, according to the agency’s website.

The MTA suffered a steep drop in ridership fare through the pandemic, which further hurt the agency after years of criticism for a crumbling infrastructure and padded pensions

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Commuters line up to receive a Johnson and Johnson one time COVID-19 vaccine at Grand Central Station on Wednesday

Commuters line up to receive a Johnson and Johnson one time COVID-19 vaccine at Grand Central Station on Wednesday

Commuters line up to receive a Johnson and Johnson one time COVID-19 vaccine at Grand Central Station on Wednesday

People are seen waiting in line for vaccines inside Grand Central Terminal in New York City on Wednesday

People are seen waiting in line for vaccines inside Grand Central Terminal in New York City on Wednesday

People are seen waiting in line for vaccines inside Grand Central Terminal in New York City on Wednesday 

Governor Andrew Cuomo had announced eight new pop-up vaccination sites at MTA station stops in the New York City, Long Island and Mid-Hudson regions

Governor Andrew Cuomo had announced eight new pop-up vaccination sites at MTA station stops in the New York City, Long Island and Mid-Hudson regions

Governor Andrew Cuomo had announced eight new pop-up vaccination sites at MTA station stops in the New York City, Long Island and Mid-Hudson regions

New Yorkers praised the convenience of getting the jab and a free weekly MetroCard even as the financially exhausted MTA has staved off massive cuts to subway service. A weeklong unlimited MetroCard costs $33.

New Yorkers praised the convenience of getting the jab and a free weekly MetroCard even as the financially exhausted MTA has staved off massive cuts to subway service. A weeklong unlimited MetroCard costs $33.

New Yorkers praised the convenience of getting the jab and a free weekly MetroCard even as the financially exhausted MTA has staved off massive cuts to subway service. A weeklong unlimited MetroCard costs $33.

MTA security contractor Janet Santiago reacts after she received a shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for the coronavirus disease during the opening of MTA's public vaccination program at the Coney Island subway station in Brooklyn

MTA security contractor Janet Santiago reacts after she received a shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for the coronavirus disease during the opening of MTA's public vaccination program at the Coney Island subway station in Brooklyn

MTA security contractor Janet Santiago reacts after she received a shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for the coronavirus disease during the opening of MTA’s public vaccination program at the Coney Island subway station in Brooklyn

Straphangers receive the COVID-19 vaccine at pop-up vaccination site at the 34th Street subway station

Straphangers receive the COVID-19 vaccine at pop-up vaccination site at the 34th Street subway station

Straphangers receive the COVID-19 vaccine at pop-up vaccination site at the 34th Street subway station

Hugh G., a 71-year-old security guard who got the vaccine at the Jamaica-179th Street station in Queens, told the New York Post that he drove to the train station to get the vaccine because he no longer rides the subway, calling it ‘too dangerous.’

‘I saw on the news it was one shot, no appointment, in and out in 15 minutes, so I said great! I was a little hesitant,’ he said.

‘I tried with an appointment a few weeks ago but the website was a little confusing and the drug stores kept telling me to call back, they were out of appointments or something.’

Some who opted to get the vaccine Wednesday had appointments schedule for vaccines made by Pfizer and Moderna – but stuck out the line for the one-dose jab.

Thomas Kontogeorgos, 50, was the first in line at Grand Central and said he wanted the one-dose vaccine.

‘Giving people options, you know, to just walk in and have the vaccine in without even planning, I think it’s a good option,’ Kontogeorgos said. 

‘And it shows, because there are many people that showed up today, and I’m sure that there will be many more people.’

Baruch College student Dekyi Tameng, 23, told Gothamist: ‘I have a [vaccine] appointment coming up, but I won’t be able to make it. I have an exam that day. So, I thought this was a great opportunity to get it.’

People who received the vaccine told the outlet that they had heard about the vaccine program during their commutes. The vaccines are being offered to residents as well as visitors.

A volunteer holds a sign encouraging people to get free COVID-19 vaccinations inside Penn Station in New York City

A volunteer holds a sign encouraging people to get free COVID-19 vaccinations inside Penn Station in New York City

A volunteer holds a sign encouraging people to get free COVID-19 vaccinations inside Penn Station in New York City

Anyone can get vaccine for free including visitors to New York from other parts of the country or from other countries as well

Anyone can get vaccine for free including visitors to New York from other parts of the country or from other countries as well

Anyone can get vaccine for free including visitors to New York from other parts of the country or from other countries as well

Everyone who receives  the vaccine is getting free 7-days unlimited MetroCard to travel on buses and subways

Everyone who receives  the vaccine is getting free 7-days unlimited MetroCard to travel on buses and subways

Everyone who receives  the vaccine is getting free 7-days unlimited MetroCard to travel on buses and subways

Daniella Roca, from Spain, received their vaccine at Grand central Station as commuters line up to receive a Johnson & Johnson shot

Daniella Roca, from Spain, received their vaccine at Grand central Station as commuters line up to receive a Johnson & Johnson shot

Daniella Roca, from Spain, received their vaccine at Grand central Station as commuters line up to receive a Johnson & Johnson shot

A commuter receives a shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for the coronavirus disease during the opening of MTA's public vaccination program

A commuter receives a shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for the coronavirus disease during the opening of MTA's public vaccination program

A commuter receives a shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for the coronavirus disease during the opening of MTA’s public vaccination program

The MTA is notifying straphangers of where and when the vaccine will be available on more than 1,200 screens and in audio messages in more than 500 stations

The MTA is notifying straphangers of where and when the vaccine will be available on more than 1,200 screens and in audio messages in more than 500 stations

The MTA is notifying straphangers of where and when the vaccine will be available on more than 1,200 screens and in audio messages in more than 500 stations

People wait in line to get a COVID-19 vaccination shot at the Broadway Junction subway station in Brooklyn on May 12, 2021

People wait in line to get a COVID-19 vaccination shot at the Broadway Junction subway station in Brooklyn on May 12, 2021

People wait in line to get a COVID-19 vaccination shot at the Broadway Junction subway station in Brooklyn on May 12, 2021

A commuter receives a shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for the coronavirus disease  during the opening of MTA's public vaccination program at a subway station in the Brooklyn borough of New York City

A commuter receives a shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for the coronavirus disease  during the opening of MTA's public vaccination program at a subway station in the Brooklyn borough of New York City

A commuter receives a shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for the coronavirus disease  during the opening of MTA’s public vaccination program at a subway station in the Brooklyn borough of New York City

According to Gothamist, the MTA is notifying straphangers of where and when the vaccine will be available on more than 1,200 screens and in audio messages in more than 500 stations, as well as in train cars and on buses. 

Montse Mateos – a 21-year-old resident of Puebla, Mexico – received the jab while on vacation with her brother on Wednesday. She said that the ‘contrast’ regarding the approach to getting vaccines between the two countries was ‘remarkable.’

‘It’s incredible. Here in the U.S.A., the government begs people to get the vaccine and also gives you free tickets. In Mexico, everybody is fighting for the vaccines. Like, ‘Please give me one.’ The contrast is really remarkable,’ she said.

It was not immediately clear how much the free passes given out with vaccines are expected to cost the agency, even as the agency has been accused of mishandling its finances.

Also on Wednesday, the New York Daily News revealed that another transit worker made at least $79,000 of unauthorized overtime pay ‘thanks to a breakdown in the MTA’s management structure.’ 

The revelation was made by the MTA’s inspector general – who noted that the payroll processor received an hour or two of overtime ‘for nearly every shift she worked from November 2018 to March 2019.’

The New York Times reported in February that, according to McKinsey & Company analysis commissioned by the MTA, ridership may only reach 80 to 92 percent of pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2024. Officials said at the time that the MTA might cut subway and bus service if ridership does not return to pre-pandemic levels by then.

Where to get your subway vaccines in New York 

New Yorkers an visit any one of the following sites to receive their free vaccine:

  • 179th Street-Jamaica station, Queens, 8am-1pm
  • Broadway Junction station, Brooklyn, 3pm-8pm
  • Coney Island, Brooklyn, 8am-1pm
  • East 180th Street Station, the Bronx, 8am-1pm
  • Grand Central Terminal, Vanderbilt Hall, Manhattan, 8am-1pm
  • Penn Station, 34th Street Corridor, Manhattan, 3pm-8pm
  • Hempstead LIRR station, 3pm-8pm
  • Ossining Metro North station, 3pm-8pm
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