A shot at Crossgates earns discounts for vaccinated

Enterprise file photo — Michael Koff

Governor Andrew Cuomo is trying to incentivize residents to use the state’s mass vaccination site in Albany County, originally located in tents at the University at Albany uptown campus, now at the former Lord & Taylor in Guilderland’s Crossgates Mall.

ALBANY COUNTY — As vaccination rates are falling off nationwide, incentives are being offered — like discounts and specials at Crossgates Mall. An incentive for states is a new federal policy to reallocate doses from states not using their weekly allotments.

Shops and eateries at Crossgates Mall in Guilderland will be offering discounts and specials to New Yorkers who get vaccinated against COVID-19 at the state-run mass clinic located in the former Lord &Taylor, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Wednesday.

The number of United States residents getting vaccinated has fallen by half since mid-April. The Biden administration is now switching its focus from mass vaccination sites, like the one it runs jointly with the state at the Washington Avenue Armory in Albany, to local settings targeting younger people and people who are hesitant to get a shot.

In his recent White House speech, Joe Biden said the goal is to vaccinate, at least partly, 70 percent of Americans by the Fourth of July. Biden called for 160 million adult Americans — 55 million more than now — to be vaccinated by Independence Day, an increase of 50 percent.

On Tuesday, states were told by the federal government that if they did not use their weekly allocation of vaccine doses, which is based on population, those doses would become part of a pool that could be used by other states seeking more vaccine doses.

Cuomo is trying to incentivize residents to use the state’s mass vaccination site in Albany County, originally located in tents at the University at Albany uptown campus. Over 200,000 vaccinations have been administered at the state site, which opened in January.

“As New York State continues to reopen, it is more critical than ever that all eligible New Yorkers roll up their sleeves and receive the COVID vaccine,” Cuomo said in a statement on Wednesday, making the announcement.

New Yorkers vaccinated at Crossgates Mall, marked “Albany Xgates” on their vaccine cards, can scan a QR code directing guests to the landing page of the Crossgates website with a list of participating stores and special offers. The discount page will be updated daily to include shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues.

Cuomo had announced on April 27 that, beginning April 29, all state mass vaccination sites are open for walk-in appointments, a continuation of efforts to make it easier for New Yorkers to get vaccinated. Walk-in appointments are currently reserved for first doses only or single-shot doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, dependent on availability and location.

While most elderly Americans have been vaccinated, vaccination lags among younger Americans. The Biden administration, like Albany County, is now focusing on small pop-up clinics to reach underserved areas.

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