NYC Kickstarts Large Vaccination Rollout, Aims for 24/7 Operation

An example of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine vial on Capitol Hill, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, Pool)

New York City will add several more vaccination sites and prepare for round-the-clock vaccination availability in a push to dramatically scale up vaccination efforts.

At his press conference on Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio acknowledged the city’s vaccination rollout has been too slow, and vowed to “speed up our effort. The more places to go, the more options … allow us to do it.”

He said they expect to start at 100,000 vaccinations a week, and steadily increase the number so that by the end of January the city will be vaccinating 400,000 people a week. The city has only allocated 110,000 vaccinations in the three weeks since rollout.

The city is setting two new pop-up clinics, five new sites in New York Health + Hospital locations, and three hubs in the city, all dedicated to the inoculation drive.

The vaccination hubs will be located in Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx. The Brooklyn location will be in the Bushwick Educational Campus, the Queens one in Hillcrest High School, and in the Bronx it will be in the South Bronx Educational Campus.

The city hopes to double its number of vaccination sites from 125 to 250, each one capable of distributing 400,000 doses.

The goal is to distribute 1 million doses by the end of January.

Those eligible to be vaccinated now include testing site workers, contact tracers, outpatient and ambulatory workers, dental workers, physical therapists, and NYPD medical staff.

As those groups are covered, de Blasio said he hoped the city could begin to vaccinate other essential workers such as firefighters, police officers and grocery store workers.

He noted he is legally unable to begin vaccinating the elderly and essential workers, as the state is still in Phase 1A of the vaccination plan, which covers health-care workers and nursing home residents and staff. Those 75 and older, and essential workers, are categorized as 1B.

However, the city has enough vaccinations to last for this week and the next, but after that the supply dwindles.

“We need the federal government to keep allocating the supply,” said de Blasio.


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