NEW YORK (PIX11) — New York City will begin offering $100 to anyone who gets their COVID-19 booster shot at a city-run vaccine site, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday. The city’s latest monetary incentive in the fight against COVID was announced as the city deals with a spike in cases due to the spread of the now-dominant omicron variant.
The offer is limited to NYC-run or SOMOS vaccination sites and is only available until December 31, the mayor said. “This is a limited time, but we hope a lot of people take it up because it will be money well spent.”
The mayor assured the funding for the initiative was not coming from other programs and called it a “budget necessity,” saying the city considers any measure aiming to increase vaccinations a priority. The new measure is similar to when the city offered $100 debit cards over the summer to New Yorkers who got their first COVID vaccine shot at city-run sites.
The new push for the booster dose comes as the highly transmissible omicron variant has grown to become an estimated 90% of new COVID infections in the New York area. The rise in cases in New York has already shut down several Broadway shows and caused long lines at testing centers, prompting the city to open new sites or reopen formerly closed sites.
Scientists say omicron spreads more easily than other coronavirus strains, including delta, though many details about it remain unknown, including whether it causes more or less severe illness. But even if it is milder, the new variant could still overwhelm health systems because of the sheer number of infections.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.