NY Covid vaccine charges plummet as states roll out extra freebies for photographs

Naomi Hassebroek receives her second COVID-19 vaccine at NYC Health+Hospitals Gotham Health Sydenham, in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, March 29, 2021.

Caitlin Ochs | Reuters

New York’s Covid-19 vaccination rate has declined dramatically in recent days, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday as he pleaded with residents to get immunized against the disease that’s claimed more than 590,000 lives in America.

The state administered just 63,000 vaccines in the last 24 hours, with a seven-day average of about 133,000 vaccines administered in the past week as of May 24, according to state data.

The current seven-day average is a small increase from last week’s but a sharp drop from the state’s peak when it reported a seven-day average of about 266,000 vaccinations on April 4.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo urged New Yorkers to take vaccines seriously, saying the pandemic is still a cause for caution.

“It’s not over, it’s managed, but it’s not over,” Cuomo said at a press briefing. “The number of vaccinations is dropping off dramatically, we’re now doing fewer than 100,000 per day — that’s a dramatic decline, 55% decline in how many vaccines we’re doing.”

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows the U.S. is reporting an average of 1.8 million vaccinations per day over the past week. About 49% of the U.S. population has had at least one shot with 39% fully vaccinated.

The nationwide seven-day average for reported administered vaccines is currently 1.7 million, down from a peak-seven day immunization average of 3.4 million reported on April 13.

The slowing immunization rate has public officials like Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio offering different perks to convince reluctant people to get their vaccine shots. They’ve previously offered free Yankees tickets, “vax & scratch” lottery tickets, free subway and railroad rides and tickets to popular attractions like zoos and gardens and more.

State parks will now be offering free passes with access to any of New York’s 16 state parks to anyone who gets the vaccine this week at a state park vaccination site, a campaign Cuomo dubbed “a shot in the park”.

Cuomo said he’s targeting the “youthful and the doubtful” with the latest round of incentives.

“Enjoy the park, come get a vaccine, we’re going to set up a vaccine site at everyone of the 16 state parks,” he said.

Maryland, Ohio and Oregon have set up vaccine lotteries to increase declining vaccination rates.

In Ohio, where vaccination rates were falling, the number of people 16 and older getting the shots jumped 28% the weekend after the state announced its vaccine lottery program. Ohio also announced that it would give five full college scholarships to randomly chosen vaccinated students.

New Jersey is offering anyone who gets their Covid shot in May a free beer at several local breweries as part of Gov. Phil Murphy’s “shot and a beer” campaign.

Private businesses across the U.S. have also offered incentives to vaccinated patrons like gift cards, free snacks, marijuana, beer and even free tickets to Six Flags in Illinois.

CNBC’s Nate Rattner contributed to this report.

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