‘Get us supply and we can fly’: City sets new COVID-19 vaccine record, but de Blasio wants more

Citi Field vaccination site
Mayor Bill de Blasio joins DC37 Executive Director Henry Garrido to deliver remarks and tour the Citi Field vaccination site in Queens on Saturday, March 27, 2021.
Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office

Close to 4 million COVID-19 vaccinations have been administered in New York City, including a record 478,000 last week — but Mayor Bill de Blasio isn’t about to let the five boroughs rest on any laurels.

The mayor touted the ongoing vaccination process in the city during his daily press briefing Monday morning, which was further boosted this weekend with a new campaign launched at Citi Field in Queens to inoculate municipal workers.

As of Monday morning, more than 130,000 city employees have received the COVID-19 vaccine, de Blasio said — an accomplishment aimed at getting the municipal workers back in the office by May 3, as the mayor ordered last week.

“We’re going to have a focused effort to get the maximum number of people vaccinated,” the mayor said, “including having on-site vaccination efforts right where” any unvaccinated workers may be employed.

With 3,840,976 shots already in New Yorkers’ arms, de Blasio projects that number will exceed 4 million by the end of this week. Moreover, the city’s on pace to meet the weekly 500,000 vaccine goal, and the goal of having 5 million vaccinated New Yorkers by June, that the mayor previously set.

“We’ve got the demand. Get us the supply and we can fly,” de Blasio said, repeating his previous calls for more vaccine doses. “Supply is the key issue. We do expect a major boost in the federal supply soon, and that’s going to allow us to get to whole new levels.” 

Looking to resolve vaccine inequity, de Blasio said the city’s working to bring the vaccine to communities hardest hit by the vaccine, including the Asian community in northeast Queens. Last week, the city launched a vaccine hub out of the Korean Community Services center in Bayside, where on Monday morning, Congresswoman Grace Meng received her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Moments after getting the shot, Meng appeared on de Blasio’s virtual press briefing about the experience and to encourage her fellow New Yorkers to get the shot when they are eligible to receive it.

“We’ve been working with our local elected officials to ask for a major vaccine site in northeast Queens for months now,” Meng said. “Northeast Queens is a transportation desert. People cannot easily take a bus or a subway train to get vaccinated. There are also a high number of seniors who need a site that is close to them. We’re really thankful to have this site right within our neighborhoods.”

Amid all the good news, however, is the virus itself — which continues to afflict far too many New Yorkers. De Blasio reported that the city’s 7-day positivity rate stands at 6.19%, with a 7-day average of 3,641 new cases per day tallied.

Both de Blasio and City Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi also warned New Yorkers to remain safe this week during Holy Week, Passover and Easter celebrations.

“This is the last time we’re going to be dealing with COVID the way we have over the last year. Every day, we’re making progress, but we’re not there yet,” the mayor said. “It’s still going to take some months to get more people vaccinated. During this holiday time, everyone should focus on safety.”

Chokshi also advised New Yorkers who are holding celebrations to celebrate them in small gatherings, and preferably outside. 

“Outdoors is always better than indoors,” he said. “If you do want to have some type of gathering, outdoors will always be safer. Similarly, places where you can wear your mask consistently and properly will also help ensure safety. Smaller is better. Stay within your household as much as possible, in groups that are in the single digits.”

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