NYC running out of COVID vaccines, reschedules 23,000 appointments

Posted On Wed, January 20, 2021 By

Posted On Wed, January 20, 2021 By In Policy

Dr. Michelle Chester of Northwell Health in Queens prepares to administer the first coronavirus vaccine in New York State; Photo: Scott Heins for the Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on Flickr

This past Friday, Mayor de Blasio began warning that New York City was likely to run out of COVID-19 vaccines in a week. And yesterday he confirmed these fears in his daily press briefing. “We will begin to run out on Thursday… And we will have literally nothing left to give as of Friday.” The city did not receive any additional doses, and therefore, has cancelled 23,000 appointments and closed its 15 vaccination hubs. This comes as the state has more than 9,000 people hospitalized from the virus, the highest number since May 4.

“We have the infrastructure to get shots in the arms of hundreds of thousands of people each week, but we need the doses from our federal partners to actually get it done,” said Mayor de Blasio yesterday.

At some point today, the city will pass the 500,000 mark for the number of doses administered since the vaccination effort began on December 14. The mayor had previously set a goal of hitting 1 million doses by the end of January, something he still believes he can achieve if the city receives enough vaccines from the federal government. To reach this milestone, he hopes to get to a place where 300,000 doses are administered weekly. In just the past 24 hours, 38,850 vaccines were given.

With the delivery of more than 100,000 Moderna doses delayed, the mayor said today, “We need to think differently in this moment. Given that the overall supply is not what we need it to be… we need to rethink the approach…” He advocated for using the second doses that are being held in reserve immediately, an approach that President Biden has also voiced support for. If this were the case, the city would have 65,000 additional vaccines that could be administered today.

But at the current juncture, 23,000 New Yorkers were told that their appointments would need to be rescheduled starting this Friday when the city expects to have zero doses left. The city does not expect to receive any additional vaccine shipments until next Tuesday, meaning appointments likely won’t resume until Wednesday. Until then, no new appointments can be made.

Elsewhere in the state, similar issues are arising. In Erie County, more than 4,300 vaccination appointments were canceled, according to a Tweet by Buffalo-based reporter Kelly Dudzik. In response, Jesse McKinley, Albany bureau chief for the NY Times, Tweeted that Governor Cuomo said the state’s weekly allotment of vaccines was cut from 300,000 to 250,000. In his press conference this afternoon, the governor explained that there are 145,780 first-doses remaining statewide. At the current average rate of 65,000 doses per day, the state will run out of vaccines in the next two to three days. If this pattern continues, Cuomo said that the state will have to start operating on a week-by-week basis.

To date, the state of New York has administered 1,156,079 doses–1,032,291 first doses and 123,778 second doses.

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