JONES BEACH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — New York opened the state’s first COVID-19 drive-thru mass vaccination center on Long Island on Thursday. Hundreds of people sat in their cars and were among the first to get their shots.

But so many more were left behind frustrated and trying to navigate a system that is overwhelmed, CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported.

MORECOVID Vaccine: Long Island County Sites Swamped By Residents Trying To Make Vaccination Appointments

Cars filled with grateful and lucky residents who got through the sign-up crush and scored the first appointments at Jones Beach snaked into vaccine tents. Among them was an 88-year-old woman.

“I feel wonderful. I said I’m very grateful,” she said.

She was especially thankful for her computer-savvy daughter.

“By the grace of God I got the appointment for my mother. There was not one ounce of availability on any site,” the daughter said.


Seven hundred doses were administered on Thursday. The mega site has a capacity of 5,000 to 10,000. State officials said they need Washington to make that happen.

“The federal government needs to do better. We need Washington D.C. to step us and provide doses so we can get the shots out to protect New Yorkers,” New York State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said.

West Babylon resident Anna Foley, who is 83 and fighting two types of cancer, waited for her turn in a system prone to crashes and jammed with everyone over 65.

“I really am frustrated, almost to tears sometimes,” Foley said. “We need somebody to work on this problem. It shouldn’t have been this way.”


Republican lawmakers called the rollout utter chaos.

“I really can’t think of anything crueler than putting our senior citizens on a computer in hopes of getting a date and not being able to get it,” Suffolk County Legislator Rob Trotta said.

Others criticized Gov. Andrew Cuomo for opening up the floodgates to too many all at once. They also called for pharmacists to begin vaccinating.

“The scheduling should be at all these pharmacies like when you go for a flu shots,” state Sen. Mario Metera said.

MORECOVID Vaccine: New Yorkers Frustrated By Lack Of Appointments; Officials Blame Low Supply

Officials said the problem has to do with the state only getting 300,000 doses per week, adding computer sign-up glitches are being fixed.

“We have people from the information technology services who are working on this 24/7,” New York State Emergency Management Director Michael Kopy said.

While appointments at the Jones Beach site are booked through April, officials said more appointments will open up before then as New York is allocated more vaccines by the federal government.

More mass vaccination sites, including one at Stony Brook University, are expected to open in the coming days.

CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff contributed to this report


Carolyn Gusoff