Open vaccination slots pile up as demand slows in New York

Some New Yorkers tell FOX 5 NY they were a little hesitant at first to get vaccinated until family members encouraged them to get the shot. 

About 42% of New York state residents have gotten at least one shot of the COVID-19 vaccine. But with the supply finally increasing, signs are emerging that demand is slowing. New York City Councilman Mark Levine, the chair of the Health Committee, is among those concerned.

"Appointments are piling up.  There's tens of thousands of appointments available in New York City today which is unthinkable compared to where we were a few weeks ago. 

Vaccination sites run by the city and the state show plenty of available day-of appointments all over. Mayor Bill de Blasio acknowledged the challenge.

"I do think we're going to have to do more to attract people going forward. The folks most ready to be vaccinated have been vaccinated now we're getting into more and more folks who need more encouragement." 

Pricilla Santiago has all the encouragement hesitant New Yorkers may need. She got COVID-19 in December and spent two weeks in the intensive care unit. She jumped at the chance to get vaccinated. 

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"This is my second life," she said. "I don't want to be sick again."

If you're still not convinced, try listening to the words of an essential worker: "Try and get it and protect yourself because [COVID] is there and it's real." 

The mayor said he thinks convenience is a big issue for a lot of New Yorkers. The city is addressing this issue by continuing to open new vaccine sites, including one at the Museum of Natural History that opens on Friday.

Some city sites will now also vaccinate anyone over the age of 50 who walks in without an appointment.