NYC At Risk of Running Out of Vaccines

Mayor Bill de Blasio holds a media availability. Tuesday, January 19, 2021. (Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)

As New York City increase the number of people being vaccinated, the city is at risk of running out vaccines as early as this Thursday, Mayor Bill de Blasio warned.

Speaking at his press conference on Tuesday, de Blasio applauded the city speeding up its efforts, noting that the city beats it own expectations. “Last week, we set a public goal of 175,000 vaccinations. We surpassed that goal this last week, ending Sunday, ending up the week was about 220,000 – over 220,000 vaccinations in New York City. So, the pace of vaccination is going faster and faster.”

The rate of vaccination is currently one New Yorker every three seconds, adding up to half a million people vaccinated by Wednesday. There are currently three 24/7 vaccine sites and 15 Health Department locations open throughout the five boroughs.

But now the city has to grapple with the looming issue of a vaccine shortage; people are being vaccinated faster than the federal government is shipping out vaccines.

The city received 53,000 vaccine doses from the federal government on Tuesday, leaving them with a total supply of 116,000 doses. Those doses are expected to be used within two days, leaving the city empty-handed by Thursday.

“[If] we don’t get more 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,” said de Blasio. “We will not get on the current schedule resupplied again until next Tuesday, which means for many of our sites we couldn’t vaccinate again until the day after next Wednesday. This is crazy. This is not the way it should be. We have the ability to vaccinate a huge number of people. We need the vaccine to go with it.”

He criticized the federal and state governments for their needless bureaucratic delays, saying  “cut the red tape, keep the supply flowing. Some of those rules are making things go a lot slower than they have to. We have to reduce those bottlenecks.”

The city still intends to vaccinate 300,000 people this upcoming week.

The risk of a vaccine shortages comes at the city is racing to contain outbreaks; the seven-day average number of cases is 5,009, and the seven-day rolling average positivity rate is 8.23%.


Updated Tuesday, January 19, 2021 at 2:43 pm .