NEW YORK (CBSNewYork)New York City is modifying its COVID vaccine distribution strategy as demand plummets, focusing its efforts on convincing New Yorkers who are hesitant.

Mobile COVID vaccination units to a site at the American Museum of Natural History; the city is trying to meet people where they are.

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“I just don’t want to be the beginning test subject,” Bronx resident Smick Nixon said.

There’s still more convincing to do, especially in the Bronx, where 27% of residents have received at least one dose, compared to the 45% citywide.

Melanie Hartzog, deputy mayor of health and human services, says the city is modifying outreach efforts.

“It’s the really being creative about opportunities to go outdoors and events. At parks, we want to do events. So it’s those type of strategies we’re going to be moving into,” Hartzog told CBS2’s Aundrea Cline-Thomas.

COVID VACCINE

On April 8, a record 115,795 COVID doses were administered.

The number has plummeted to nearly 32,500 on Thursday as supply, once scarce, now outpaces demand.

“I do think that we’re going to start to see a little bit of leveling off, but most certainly, very hopeful that we can reach our goal,” Hartzog said.

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That goal is to vaccinate 5 million city residents by the end of June, all while plans of fully reopening are moving full steam ahead.

“If a substantial number of people don’t want to be vaccinated, we’re going to see this virus continue to infect people,” said epidemiologist Dr. Stanley Weiss, with Rutgers New Jersey Medical School.

A virus that’s still deadly and mutating.

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

Weiss explains vaccines are the only defense because we won’t reach herd immunity.

“Can COVID ever go away?” Cline-Thomas asked.

“We don’t know if it will ever go away. Right now, it looks like it may be with us for the indefinite future,” Weiss said.

That’s why the focus has moved from mass vaccination sites to more personalized efforts, trying to convince New Yorkers, one shot at a time.

Private doctors are being urged to have conversations with their patients during routine check-ups.

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Most of those who have a change of heart have to be encouraged by a source they trust.

Aundrea Cline-Thomas