COVID-19 vaccine appointments rare as 30-year-olds become eligible



Welcome to the club, Millennials.

The coveted COVID-19 vaccine became available to those age 30 and over in New York on Tuesday — but the newly-eligible found appointments hard to come by.

“I fully expected that with the surge of people in this age group that availability would be scarce, but I didn’t anticipate that the process of finding an appointment would feel like going in circles,” Staten Island resident Laura Dasaro, 31, told The Post.

Dasaro said that she spent much of Tuesday scouring the state and city’s websites to try to make a vaccine appointment — but to no avail.

“The most frustrating part is not being able to refresh the page to see if new appointments open up without going back and re-certifying eligibility,” said Dasaro. “Most places are not taking first-dose appointments and those that are don’t have any appointments or direct you to call.”

She added, “Calling got me no answers or full voicemail boxes.”

A pop-up COVID-19 vaccination clinic stands in Chinatown.
A pop-up COVID-19 vaccination clinic stands in Chinatown.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Other New Yorkers on the hunt for an appointment — after the state lowered the eligibility age from 50 — griped on Twitter Tuesday that the task was nearly impossible.

“Has anyone been able to schedule a vaccine appointment in NYC today? I’ve been trying all day on different sites, all of them are a mess. How is this working for anyone? #VaccinateNY,” Emily Afton tweeted.

Chris Kurdziel said in a tweet: “If anyone’s looking for a great way to get really frustrated and waste a few hours of precious time, I recommend trying to find a vaccine appointment in NYC rn [right now].”

Another Twitter user complained, “How do you get a vaccine appointment in nyc…this system is so f–ked upppppp.”

Many New York City-run and state-run vaccination sites had no available vaccine appointments listed online by Tuesday afternoon.

As of Tuesday with the eligibility expansion, approximately 14.2 million New Yorkers were eligible to get the coronavirus vaccine.

A pharmacist prepares a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.
A pharmacist prepares a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

S. Mitra Kalita, the publisher of Epicenter-NYC — a newsletter that also has a network of volunteers scheduling appointments for New Yorkers – told The Post that in the initial days following an eligibility expansion, it’s typically difficult for folks to get an appointment.

“It’s really hard today to get appointments,” said Kalita. “Our volunteers are super frustrated, but I gotta say this happens every time there’s a massive increase in eligibility.”

“This is expected for a few days,” Kalita noted.

Kalita explained that city and state vaccine appointment sign-up Web sites appeared to be extra glitch-y.

“Some of the Web sites and the phone screeners might say it’s only for 50-plus [year olds] so they haven’t yet updated to the 30-plus, so that’s one issue we’ve been seeing,” she said. “Another is just the lack, it’s not showing appointments.”

One volunteer reported earlier Tuesday that there were available appointments at the state’s mass-vaccination site at the Jacob Javits Center in Manhattan, “but when you click on it there’s nothing there,” said Kalita.

People walk into a Brooklyn mall where a pop-up vaccination clinic is located.
People walk into a Brooklyn mall where a pop-up vaccination clinic is located.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

“We don’t know if this is just because the state is about to drop a whole lot more appointments or if this is from the sites being overloaded with newly eligible people or if it’s a little bit of both,” Kalita added.

Additional reporting by Bernadette Hogan


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