By Ali Bauman

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo says New Yorkers can start making appointments for federally backed mass vaccination sites.

Appointments started opening at 8 a.m. Saturday for sites in Brooklyn and Queens.

The sites at Medgar Evers College and York College will start administering shots on Wednesday. The sites will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day.

Crown Heights resident Danielle Louis says she has a sense of hope that her parents can finally get vaccinated.

“This area is one of the areas that was hit high with COVID,” she said.

First dibs on appointments will go to people who live within surrounding zip codes. Appointments will open up to the entire borough after a week.

“I agree with that because you had, in the beginning, people coming from different areas, taking away from the areas that really need it,” Crown Heights resident Janelle Young told CBS2’s Ali Bauman.

Each facility will give out 3,000 vaccines per day.

Appointments can be made by going to the state’s “Am I Eligible” website or by calling the COVID-19 vaccination hotline at 1-833-697-4829.


Sites in Buffalo, Rochester, Albany and Yonkers will open on March 3. Eligible New Yorkers can begin making appointments for those sites Wednesday at 8 a.m.

Those sites will administer 1,000 doses per day.


Saturday, 13 community-based pop-up vaccination sites will open in the five boroughs, including at the First Baptist Church in Crown Heights. The state says these sites will vaccinate more than 3,800 people throughout the week.

Eleven new rapid testing sites are also opening in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx.

“I believe reopening is going to be accelerated by testing,” the governor said Friday.

Test results will be ready in 30 minutes and cost $30 per test for most members of the public.

“The rapid testing really does provide New Yorkers the comfort and actually the safety to go do the things that we want them to begin to do,” said Dr. Jon R. Cohen, executive chairman of BioReference Laboratories.

MORE: New Rapid COVID Testing Sites In New York City Expected To Accelerate Reopening

Testing will be crucial in resuming visitation in the state’s nursing homes. Cuomo says visitors will soon be allowed to see loved ones in facilities like the Hebrew Home in Riverdale.

“It’s just been such a long time. That the time for visitation is here, we’re just so excited. Our residents are excited,” said Daniel Reingold, president and CEO of Hebrew Home at Riverdale.

The move is perhaps an olive branch from the governor, who’s facing mounting criticism over his handling of nursing homes early in the pandemic.

But in typical Cuomo style, he’s also vowing to go after anyone who accused him of increasing nursing home deaths.

“You have to knock it down and counter it and counter it aggressively, otherwise people will believe it,” he said.

MORE: Gov. Cuomo Calls For Nursing Home Reform, Stands By Administration’s Reporting Of COVID Deaths

The governor says his office will have more details on nursing home visitation next week.

Ali Bauman