The Big Apple could run out of doses of coronavirus vaccine in just two weeks if it manages to hit its targets for getting jabs into the arms of New Yorkers, Mayor de Blasio acknowledged late Monday.
“In the real-world, problems could be lack of vaccine,” de Blasio told NY1’s Errol Louis during his weekly appearance on the channel’s public affairs program, ‘Inside City Hall’ “At the rate we’re going, we’re going to be out in two weeks or so.”
Under fire for an initially sluggish rollout, Gotham’s public and private health care systems managed to dispense 102,000 doses to New Yorkers last week — narrowly surpassing Hizzoner’s promise to get 100,000 jabs out the door.
The goal for this week is 175,000 shots and de Blasio has said wants to be dispensing as many as 400,000 shots a week by the end of January.
However, it’s unclear how the city hit that goal as the entire state is only receiving 300,000 doses of vaccine each week from the feds.
“Right now, we have doses. The problem in a few weeks is we will run out at the rate that we’re going to go be going,” de Blasio told reporters during his Monday press conference. “We need the federal government to step up and state government, manufactures — get us the doses we need.”
City Hall and Gov. Andrew Cuomo sparred for days over the slow pace of vaccination as outrage exploded after city hospitals vaccinated fewer than 200 people on New Year’s Day.
Cuomo demanded that hospitals speed up providing the shots and threatened fines if they didn’t move faster — while also promising stiff fines if hospitals injected those not eligible for the jabs under the state’s strict criteria.
De Blasio and his top health officials charged the state rules did not take into account the difficulties involved with handling the coronavirus vaccines: the jabs are stored in vials that contain several doses, which are difficult to preserve once initially thawed.
That means it’s easy for already-rationed shots to go to waste if there aren’t several New Yorkers on line to take the shots once the vials come out of the freezer.
City Hall — joined by local officials upstate — complained that Cuomo’s eligibility criteria and the threat of fines made it impossible for hospitals to use all of their injection slots and were slowing down distribution as the Empire State confronts the second wave of coronavirus infections.
The governor relented on Friday and finally okayed local officials distributing shots to the second priority group — 1B — which includes New Yorkers who are 75 or older and front line government services, including police, teachers and transit workers.
But the rollout to this new and larger universe has been rocky both upstate and downstate, as disjointed computer systems for booking appointments regularly crashed under heavy loads and New Yorkers swarmed phone hotlines seeking appointments.
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