Hundreds of New Yorkers rushed to a Brooklyn location Thursday night after hearing about COVID-19 vaccines being available to people 18 and older. Unfortunately, those reports were untrue.
The mayor’s office dispatched city workers to the Brooklyn Army Terminal to break up the crowd that had gathered after rumors circulated on social media about soon-to-expire vaccines being available, the New York Post reported.
“There is NOT available vaccine for people without appointments. This was misinformation and the notification did not come from the NYC gov,” tweeted Bill Neidhardt, press secretary for Mayor Bill de Blasio.
“We are sending people to Brooklyn Army Terminal to ask people in line to return home if they don’t have appointments.”
Earlier, images and messages shared on Twitter, Facebook, and WhatsApp said the Brooklyn location had 410-plus doses available to “anyone in community age 18+.”
Adding confusion to the situation were some people saying the site previously had set up a line for walk-ins.
“Every now and then there are vials with an extra dose or someone doesn’t show up to their appointment so sites are ready to form lines for if that happens,” Neidhardt said.
A long line of people on sidewalks and cars filling the street was seen in a video clip tweeted around 5:30 p.m. ET. Little more than a half hour later, the Post found bumper-to-bumper traffic for eight blocks in either direction of the terminal and hundreds of people lining the street in front of the building.
“Someone having to do with the site, she came and said it was very reasonable that we were going to get our shots,” said Alexandra Frankel, 27, who added she had been waiting “since 4:37 p.m.”
After police showed up and told people they needed to leave, Frankel said a security guard let her and nine other people in through a gate — only to have cops deny them entrance.
“It’s frustrating because I was waiting [in line] for two hours, and I don’t even know now if this is legit,” she said.
Only healthcare workers, teachers, police, other frontline workers, and people age 65 and older are eligible to get vaccine shots in New York state.
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