As COVID-19 cases rise in New York, one of the city’s mass vaccination sites remained closed for the second straight day, amid low supply of the coveted inoculations.
The Brooklyn Army Terminal location, which opened this week, had to shutter just days later when there was no more COVID-19 vaccine to distribute.
The city hopes to reopen the site “as soon as possible,” a spokeswoman said Saturday.
The problem is infecting other sites: Mount Sinai Hospital already canceled vaccine appointments through Tuesday due to lack of supply, and NYU Langone Health stopped scheduling new ones.
“We don’t know yet when we will be getting more,” an NYU Langone spokeswoman said Saturday.
The vaccine distribution is controlled by the state, and Gov. Cuomo has called upon the federal government to provide more supply.
“We are in a footrace to get the vaccine into the arms of eligible New Yorkers as quickly and equitably as possible,” Cuomo said Saturday.
He said the state was expected to get 250,000 doses of the vaccine this week, down from its usual supply of 300,000. A total of 772,399 doses had been distributed across the state as of Saturday morning, not counting those given out in nursing homes.
Without a fresh supply, the city is due to run out of vaccinations next week, Mayor de Blasio has said. The short supply comes as officials found yet another New York case of the highly contagious UK COVID-19 strain, bringing the total to 17. Coronavirus cases among New York City students and school staffers have also surged, past the grim milestone of 10,000 infections.
The new statistic comes as the city Department of Education reported another public school teacher and a school secretary died this week from the virus, bringing the DOE’s tally of COVID deaths to at least 81. When school safety agents, and the death of a school nurse are included in figures, the total is 96. There were 157 deaths from the virus in New York state Friday, including 46 in New York City.
Desperate New Yorkers have spent hours trying to book appointments to get the jab, which is now available to healthcare workers, those 65 and older, teachers, cops, transportation workers and others. Vaccine seekers are required to register online, answer a series of questions and bring proof of employment or age — but it’s not clear all the vaccination sites are verifying eligibility before they administer the jab. A QR code sent when the appointment is booked must be shown at the site.
But workers at the state-run Javits Center location were inconsistent in verifying eligibility, The Post found Saturday.
“To be honest with you, they didn’t ask for documentation that I’m a teacher,” said Courtney Donohue, 53, who works at a Westchester County preschool and got her shot at the convention center. She came armed with a letter from her employer and a pay stub. Another worker who does fundraising for a private school said she did have to present an employee ID before she could receive the jab.
“I had someone ask for my passport, as well,” said the 23-year-old who gave her name as Caitlin. Brian Barto, 72, a retiree, said he showed his driver’s license when he checked in. “They’re asking for ID and everything.” he said. A man who came for his shot at the city’s Hillcrest High School vaccination hub in Queens said he was told to bring proof.“ But they don’t ask for it,” he said. “They should be a little more secure.
”A spokesman for the city Health Department said proof was required at its site, and the city had turned away those who were not eligible, but he would not provide a number on how many.
Additional reporting by Susan Edelman, Sam Raskin and Georgett Roberts