A New York City Fire Department Bureau of Emergency Medical Services (FDNY EMS) worker receives a COVID-19 Modern vaccine amid coronavirus (COVID-19) disease in New York City, New York, USA, in Manhattan. 23 December 2020.
Carlo Allegri | Reuters
New York City officials want to vaccinate 1 million residents against Covid-19 in January, saying the federal government and drug manufacturers should speed up the production and distribution of the vaccine.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday the city will use schools, pop-up clinics and “everything needed” within a month to reach 1 million people.
“We know the city of New York can vaccinate 1 million people in January and put this thing really in high gear,” de Blasio told CNN. “Every time we vaccinate someone, we are one step closer to making the coronavirus a thing of the past in terms of the terrible grip it has on society.”
IThis is an ambitious goal, as the city received only 390,425 doses of vaccinations and, according to city data, could only deliver 78,000 shots.
“This thing is not moving as it is needed in the United States,” the mayor said. “The city of New York is going to show that we can start it and vaccinate people at a record pace. And we want to see the whole country be a part of it, because we have to go faster to fight back the coronavirus if we want to recover. ‘
The US government has fallen far short of the original goal of administering at least 20 million Covid vaccine shots before the end of the year – something that federal officials have acknowledged is disappointing. According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, the U.S. has so far distributed 12.4 million doses of vaccine and vaccinated only 2.8 million people with the first two-stroke vaccine regimen from Pfizer or Moderna. U.S. officials say the data is 72 to 96 hours behind schedule due to delays at the state and local levels. Nevertheless, it is still a fraction of the original target of the Trump administration.
“We agree that the number is lower than we had hoped,” Moncef Slaoui, chief adviser to the government’s vaccination program Operation Warp Speed, told reporters on Wednesday. “We know it has to get better, and we’re working hard to make it better.”
De Blasio’s ruling comes because health officials in Colorado and California have detected a new strain of the coronavirus in a handful of cases in those states. The new variant, which according to De Blasio has not yet been found in New York City, was first identified in the UK and appears to be much more contagious.
It also comes as the city prepares for its annual New Year’s Eve festivities, albeit without the usual crowd. Only a few hundred people, instead of the usual thousands, will be in Times Square wearing masks and only by invitation to drop the ball at midnight until 2021. De Blasio said the one thing that unites all Americans in this divided country this year is “we want to get rid of the Hell of 2020.”