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Crowds of New Yorkers rushed to a vaccination site in Brooklyn after a Facebook post Thursday afternoon said there were spare COVID-19 shots that needed to be used up quickly.
A post that read, “PLEASE SHARE: We need to give out 410+ doses in the next 4 hours at Brooklyn Army Terminal (by 7pm), taking anyone in community age 18+, walk ins, or earlier than scheduled” was shared and reposted across parents’ groups and other Facebook circles.
But as crowds descended on Brooklyn Army Terminal in cars and on foot, the mayor’s office tweeted that the shots are reserved for people with appointments, and the Facebook post was a “bogus” rumor.
At the same time, however, people in the line, including Insider’s Associate Travel Editor Hannah Freedman who arrived around 5pm, said they were told walk-ins were an option, and were directed into a separate queue for spare shots. That line eventually dispersed as doctors and police walked down saying there were no more shots.
Approximately 500 people were in line at Brooklyn Army Terminal around 5pm, author and columnist Jessica Valenti wrote in a tweet that has since been deleted.
Another Twitter user, Stephen Lurie, posted a video of people standing in line at Brooklyn Army. He wrote that it looked like more than 400 people were there, and that a security guard was telling people to go home but they were asking for more information and refusing to leave.
More of the line, which seems far bigger than 400 by now pic.twitter.com/PdTPsvFlM8
— Stephen Lurie (@luriethereal) January 14, 2021
Bill Neidhardt, press secretary to Mayor Bill de Blasio, moved to shut down the fast-spreading information on Twitter, writing in a tweet that the mayor’s office would be sending someone to clear up the line.
New York City councilman Justin Brannan also tweeted, urging New Yorkers away from Brooklyn Army Terminal.
You may have seen this bogus image. As a result there is now a line of people outside the Brooklyn Army Terminal who are not going to get vaccinated.
I know we’re all desperate to get vaccinated but sharing stuff like this does more harm than good & creates confusion. pic.twitter.com/iP4nzUPa6W
— Justin Brannan (@JustinBrannan) January 14, 2021
Brannan told Insider in an email that the claim about extra vaccines was “100% BOGUS.”
The New York City mayor’s office confirmed to Insider that there is no formal waitlist for people who are not in priority groups to get vaccinated ahead of schedule. Vaccination sites work with city officials to reach eligible citizens so no doses are wasted.
The Brooklyn Army Terminal is also a 24/7 vaccination site, so having thawed vaccines left over at the end of the day was not a concern there.
“The city has a variety of ways that doses are used,” a spokesperson for the mayor’s office said, adding that vaccination sites work with city officials to reach eligible citizens, so no doses are wasted.
Right now, the city is vaccinating its healthcare workers, nursing home residents, grocery store workers, first responders, and transit workers, as well as teachers, people living or working in homeless shelters or group homes, and anyone over 65 years old.
To make an appointment, New Yorkers in the priority groups can use the city’s online registration form, or call 877-VAX-4NYC.
Hilary Brueck contributed reporting.