New York to drive vaccinations with free subway rides

New York (AFP) –


New Yorkers will receive free train rides if they get vaccinated against Covid-19 in subway stations, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Monday as part of a move to speed up immunizations.

Big Apple residents will be able to get a shot of the Johnson & Johnson single dose vaccine in one of six stations that have been selected for a pilot program to run from Wednesday to Sunday.

As a bonus, they will also be entitled to receive a one-week pass in the metro, or a return trip on suburban train lines.

"We try a lot of creative ideas because we have to increase the vaccination rate," said Cuomo, adding that if the pilot is a success it will be rolled out further.

Stations taking part include Penn Station and Grand Central Terminal.

Some 60 percent of New York's nearly 20 million people have already received at least one dose of the vaccine, official figures show.

But the pace has slowed in New York and elsewhere as most people who wanted to be vaccinated have been.

Officials face a challenge convincing the reluctant to get inoculated to reach the threshold for societal immunity.

Governments and business have rolled out a number of incentives ranging from free tickets for sporting events and complimentary beers to doughnuts to even free marijuana joints.