New York State opens mass COVID-19 vaccination site at Jones Beach
A new COVID-19 vaccine center has opened at Jones Beach, and state officials are encouraging people to use this location rather than smaller sites.
Thursday was the first day it was open, and it'll be open daily 8 a.m. through 7 p.m.
People with appointments drove through and were vaccinated in their cars. The site will be open daily.
News 12 has been told that there is a delay of 14 weeks or more to make appointments because of the vaccine's availability.
During a press conference at Jones Beach, state officials said a total of 700 people were to be vaccinated Thursday, and they could get up to 1,500 people a day with more vaccines.
The state is now calling on the federal government to supply more vaccines. New York is getting about 300,000 doses per week at this point.
"We need more vaccines. Fact is, there are more than 7 million New Yorkers eligible for the vaccine, but we only get 300,000 doses a week from the federal government. At that rate, it'll take us six months to get everyone who's currently eligible," says Erik Kulleseid, State Parks commissioner.
Officials say all of the appointments at Jones Beach are booked until April, but they will be able to open up more appointments as more vaccines come into the system.
Many people who were able to get an appointment say it took plenty of patience, including hours in front of a computer hitting the refresh button.
"Like I won the lottery. It's just time-consuming and frustrating, I know a lot of people are probably going through that, especially those who don't have computers, rely on phone calls," says 79-year-old Richard Torggler, of East Northport. "It's almost an impossible task. You just have to be vigilant and don't give up."
Those who do get vaccinated at Jones Beach are being scheduled for their second appointment when they leave.
find out if you are eligible, and to see if any appointments open up click here
Editor's Note: Officials Thursday said they could do up to 10,000 vaccinations at Jones Beach. However on Friday, officials say they misspoke, and that number refers to all of the state facilities. The Jones Beach number is actually 1,500 per day.