Nurse Jasmin Waters of Northwell Health gives COVID-19 vaccine shot...

Nurse Jasmin Waters of Northwell Health gives COVID-19 vaccine shot to Irfan Amin, 81, of Syosset, Feb. 3 at a pop-up site in Westbury. Credit: Debbie Egan-Chin

Pop-up vaccination sites, as they’re informally known, aren’t targeted at the general public, but "rural communities, poor communities … Black and Latino communities, public housing, other health care deserts," Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said in December.

"We call them community vaccination kits," he said.

Can anyone sign up?

It's unclear. For Thursday's event in Long Beach, the 125 slots have already been scheduled, said a woman who answered the phone at the site — the city's recreation center. She said those slots went to senior citizens who live in public housing. "All of those are filled up, so it's not a public event … This was all done long before today," she said.

What's a vaccine pop-up site?

The New York State government is sending out "self-contained units" with "all items necessary for setting up a vaccination site." That includes office supplies, workstations, communications equipment, cleaning supplies, lighting, personal-protective equipment, crowd/traffic control devices, vials, syringes, room dividers and privacy curtains. The state’s technical name for the sites is "Community Vaccination Kits."

"You can send the shipping container right to put on the back of a truck, bring it to a public housing authority, to a church, to a community center, anywhere in the state. Everything you need. Computers, IT, medicines, wall dividers, tables, chairs, schematic for how you set up the space, space could be about 10,000 square feet," Cuomo said Dec. 21.

Is a pop-up site different from other venues?

No, pop-up sites are the same as pharmacies, hospitals, clinics, state-run vaccination sites like Jones Beach or a local health departments.

What happens when I show up to get my shot at a pop-up site?

Cuomo explained Dec. 21: "They have to be greeted, they have to be registered, the vaccination itself takes about 15 minutes. The medical personnel then like the person to remain in that area, in that space, for about an additional 20 minutes, half an hour, just to make sure there’s no response," such as an allergic reaction. Earlier this month, Cuomo said 35 such sites were coming online to provide first doses to about 25,000 New Yorkers; about 9,000 such doses were dispensed in a past deployment.

What’s the idea behind the program?

The sites aim to increase vaccine access in "health care deserts" — neighborhoods bereft of certain medical facilities — as well as for New Yorkers who are Black, Latino, poor or who live in rural areas or public housing, according to Cuomo’s office. Each of the sites has different criteria for who qualifies.

In upstate Utica, for example, two sites that opened earlier this month were only for racial minorities, poor people, and refugees, Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente Jr. told the Observer-Dispatch newspaper.

Do I need an appointment or can I just show up?

You need an appointment, said Cuomo spokesman Jack Sterne: Sign up either through a health care provider or the entity hosting the event. Organizers are said to do outreach ahead of the pop-up site’s arrival to promote the vaccine’s availability.

Where and when are the pop-up sites?

Past sites on Long Island have been in Uniondale, Amityville, Roosevelt, Huntington Station, Hempstead, Westbury and Hampton Bays. The one coming up Thursday is at the Magnolia Center, 700 Magnolia Blvd., in Long Beach, and Friday at the Gerald Ryan Outreach Center, 1434 Straight Path, in Wyandanch.

What about the second shot?

The pop-up vaccine sites are supposed to return weeks later to the same communities to administer second shots — each of the approved vaccines in the United States, by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, must be given in two doses in order to confer maximum immunity — to those who got first doses.