On the heels of the fast-spreading Omicron variant that has begun to hit NYC hard, the MTA will begin offering booster doses to straphangers in an initiative to up the dismal booster vaccination rate in NYC that stands below 40% of the entire eligible population.
The MTA is setting up pop-up booster vaccine and testing sites at various busy subway stations, in an attempt to curb the spread of the Omicron variant. As it stands, this New York State-funded program provides anyone, including those visiting New York, the opportunity to get their booster shot without an appointment.
Furthermore, Governor Kathy Hochul announced Wednesday that two stations will also offer COVID-19 testing starting on Dec. 27. The hours for each location are Times Square-42nd Street Station: 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Grand Central: 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. In addition to these, five more testing sites will be announced in the coming week.
These pop-up booster sites will offer the Moderna booster at Times Square-42nd St, Jackson Heights-Roosevelt Av/74 St, and Central Avenue. The Times Square station in Manhattan will run the pop-up booster site each day until Dec. 31 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., except on Christmas Day, and the Jackson Heights-Roosevelt Av/74 St site will open Tuesday and run through Thursday, Dec. 23 from 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. The MTA will begin offering booster shots at Grand Central Terminal from Monday, Dec. 27 through Thursday, Dec. 30 between 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Announcing the decision, MTA Acting Chair and CEO Janno Lieber said, “With the surge in recent cases due to the Omicron variant, we want to make sure that New Yorkers have the opportunity to get their booster shots as quickly and conveniently as possible, especially with the holidays right around the corner. By placing these vaccination sites for booster shots in high traffic areas of the transit system, we hope that many will take advantage of the opportunity to further protect themselves and their loved ones.”