JOHNSON CITY, N.Y. — New Yorkers seeking COVID-19 vaccinations will be accommodated on a walk-in basis at all state-run vaccination sites starting Thursday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday.
The move to expand vaccine access comes as infection rates are decreasing in most of the state. New York has averaged about 4,000 new COVID-19 cases per day over the past seven days, less than half the daily number of cases at the start of the month.
"The more New Yorkers who get vaccinated, the faster we will defeat the COVID-19 pandemic and rebuild a new and better state and economy for everyone," said Cuomo, who announced the new walk-in policy in Johnson City in the state's Southern Tier.
Cuomo announced last week that state-run mass vaccination sites would provide walk-in shots to people 60 and over. The new policy will drop the age limit for walk-in appointments. The state-run mass vaccination sites administer the Pfizer vaccine, which can be given to anyone over 16.
Walk-in vaccinations are already available for all eligible ages at New York City-run sites.
The walk-in appointments at state-run sites are for first doses only, Cuomo said. Second doses of the two-shot Pfizer and Moderna vaccines will be scheduled automatically after the first shot is administered, he said.
Cuomo also said that New York state will follow the guidelines announced Tuesday by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention allowing fully vaccinated Americans to go maskless in some situations.
"The CDC announced new guidance today saying that when Americans who are fully vaccinated are outside, biking, hiking, running, or in small gatherings, you don't need to wear a mask," Cuomo said in a statement. "That is liberating, especially now that the weather is getting warmer."