The world of travel is changing. We’re finally able to see the light at the end of the tunnel, thanks to modern medicine and vaccines. But for the months ahead, demand continues to run ahead of supply. If you find yourself struggling to schedule a vaccine appointment in New York, you’re not alone.
As an airline pilot and essential worker, I was included in phase 1B of vaccine distribution. As a result, I was able to receive my first dose earlier this month. And I can tell you, I worked hard to get that vaccine appointment. I did a lot of research, made many phone calls (ew right?) and eventually declared myself victorious.
New York does a pretty good job consolidating vaccine appointment availability to major hubs to make them easier to find. I’ve found a couple tips and tricks – and the 4 best ways – to guarantee success in finding a vaccine appointment in New York.
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Who qualifies for the COVID-19 Vaccine in New York?
New York is currently in phase 1B. This means you must fall under one of these categories.
- A health care worker in an ambulatory care setting not affiliated with a hospital, including primary care, behavioral health, phlebotomy, physical and occupational therapy, specialty clinics, and dialysis centers
- Funeral workers with direct contact with infectious materials and bodily fluids
- Healthcare workers at COVID-testing sites
- Public health workers with direct patient care responsibilities
- Home care workers and aides, hospice workers, personal care aides, and consumer-directed personal care workers
- Teachers and education workers
- First responders
- Public safety workers
- Public transit workers
- People ages 65 and older
- Restaurant workers and restaurant delivery drivers
- Grocery workers
- NYC TLC-Licensed Drivers
- Eligible congregate facility staff and clients
- Qualifying comorbidities/underlying conditions
List of Qualifying comorbidities/underlying conditions >
If you fall into one of these categories, congratulations. Let’s go find you a vaccine appointment!
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#1) NYC COVID-19 Vaccine Appointment Finder
This is the best resource that New York City provides to find COVID-19 Vaccines. It provides a lengthy (and nearly complete) list of vaccine providers – both public and private. I’ve had pretty good luck using this website.
The quickest surefire way to find an available appointment is to hit Control + F on your keyboard to pull up the search function. Search for: “FIRST DOSE APPOINTMENTS AVAILABLE“. Though you’ll find many of the red “no first dose appointments available“, this method still allows you to get to the green “first dose appointments available” more quickly.
If you find private vaccine centers (Walgreens, CVS, etc) with “first dose appointments available”, make sure to take note of the zip code where appointments are available and use it on that website. Also, many Walgreens appointments are only for those 65 years or older. Other appointments are for residents of specific boroughs only.
#2) NYC Health & Hospitals COVID-19 Vaccination Appointment Scheduler
The NYC Health & Hospitals Vaccination Scheduler is actually the website I used to schedule my appointment. Though appointments available through the NYC Health & Hospitals systems should show up in the vaccine finder, it’s not a guarantee.
This one takes a bit more work. For example, you’ll have to input all your information (name, DOB) and confirm your eligibility before you can even see if appointments are available. I’ve found luck leaving the website open and coming back to it intermittingly.
#3) NYC Vaccine Appointment Pod
As before, you will have to input all of your information to ensure your eligibility for the vaccine. And you can leave your browser open on the “schedule an appointment” page and come back. To refresh it, simply change the date or zip code.
#4) Call 1-800-NYS-4VAX (NYC Vaccine Appointment Hotline)
This is my least favorite option, but it does get results. I’ve heard (and read stories) of people getting their vaccinations this way when nothing else works.
My main qualm with calling is that you have to give all the same information as above but my phone. In other words, it’s not very time-efficient nor fun. I must say that in my experience, hold times have been minimal. Very impressive for NYC!
Most appointments become available last-minute or far ahead
This holds true whether you’re trying to book an appointment in New York City or in Grand Forks. People tend to reserve multiple vaccination slots far ahead of time and cancel the ones they don’t end up using last-minute.
My vaccination appointment fell under the ‘last-minute’ category. It was for a slot only two days ahead and there was plenty of availability for the next day.
Check early in the morning or at the end of the work day
The first time I called the 1-800-NYS-4VAX hotline, I unfortunately had no luck finding an appointment. I decided to ask the worker his opinion and the best time to check for new slots, and he told me most are loaded into the system at the beginning and end of the workday.
This was great advice. The next day at 7AM, I decided to follow his advice. And that is precisely when I found my appointment slot.
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