False availability claim spurs rush to NYC vaccine site

January 15, 2021 GMT

NEW YORK (AP) — New Yorkers lined the sidewalks and cars jammed the streets near a Brooklyn coronavirus vaccine site Thursday after false rumors spread of extra doses available to the general public.

Messages spread online claimed several hundred doses had to be given out by Thursday evening and that any adult was welcome, whether they had an appointment or not.

The resulting chaos near the Brooklyn Army Terminal brought out police and city workers to tell people that no, it wasn’t true and vaccinations are appointment-only, and for certain populations according to priority.

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Online, mayoral spokesman Bill Neidhardt said on Twitter, “There is NOT available vaccine for people without appointments. This was misinformation and the notification did not come from the NYC gov.”

There is high demand for the vaccine, which in New York state is currently available for people 65 and over, health care workers and those in certain key professions like police officers and teachers.