New York officials push for more COVID-19 vaccine supplies
New York’s effort to speed up coronavirus inoculations is increasingly colliding with a lack of vaccine.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday that the city will run out of first doses of COVID-19 vaccine sometime Thursday without fresh supplies.
“If we don’t get new vaccine quickly, a new supply of vaccine, we will have to cancel appointments and no longer give shots after Thursday for the remainder of the week at a lot of our sites,” the Democratic mayor said at his daily coronavirus briefing.
The top official in Erie County in western New York, meanwhile, tweeted that the county had already canceled 3,700 vaccination appointments this week because of supply problems. County Executive Mark Poloncarz said the county, which includes Buffalo, received a decreased number of vaccine doses from New York state this week.
After a sluggish start, New York has ramped up the vaccination effort by opening new inoculation sites, including 24-hour vaccine hubs.
De Blasio said 220,000 doses were given out last week in the city and 455,737 have been administered since two vaccines were approved for emergency use last month. He said the city could administer 300,000 doses this week if it had enough vaccine. “The problem is right now we don’t,” he said.
Under current state guidelines, about 7 million New Yorkers are eligible to be vaccinated, including people age 65 and older, nursing home residents, health care workers and other essential workers including teachers and grocery store clerks.
“Due to limited supply, New Yorkers are encouraged to remain patient and are advised not to show up at vaccination sites without an appointment,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
The two vaccines that have been approved both require two shots administered several weeks apart for maximum effectiveness. The mayor said 53,000 doses were expected to arrive Tuesday, leaving the city with just 116,000 first doses for the week ahead.
“We will have nothing left to give as of Friday,” he said.
A spokesperson for the mayor said the city has enough vaccine for second doses for some but not all of the people who have had one shot and are waiting for their second.
De Blasio said it’s up to the federal and state governments as well as manufacturers to do “everything they can to get us the maximum supply because we are proving literally every passing day we can reach more and more people.”
He said he was cheered by President-elect Joe Biden’s stated goal of 100 million vaccine doses nationwide in the first 100 days.
“New York City can help lead the way” de Blasio said. “We just need the vaccine to do it.”
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