Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday that New York City’s vaccination effort as a whole is getting closer to the administration’s goal of reaching 5 million vaccinated city dwellers by June — with about half a million jabs being distributed last week.
With an expected 77,000 additional doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine set to arrive in the coming days, and new sites expected to come online through the city’s portal for appointment booking, the mayor figures that number will only keep growing.
“This is amazing stuff, the number of people being vaccinated now in New York City is skyrocketing and more good news ahead as more supplies are coming. So where do we stand now? Well, to date, we have given 4,462,022 vaccinations. That is more vaccinations than there are people in the state of Oregon,” de Blasio said. “We’re reaching a lot of people who it’s particularly important to reach with that vaccine so we’re going out into communities, pop-up locations and public housing, houses of worship, homebound seniors and other folks with the one shot, one and done. So we’re continuing to expand all over the city so you’re going to see a number of sites up this week, new sites.”
Despite the June goal of five million vaccinated adults, de Blasio believes in-person Broadway theater may not be a reality until September. Nonetheless, the mayor intends to create a vaccination center for thespians as well as mobile vaccinations for off-Broadway performers.
With spikes in other states causing concerns about the pace of reopening for the mayor as well as city Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Commissioner Dave Chokshi, de Blasio reiterated his belief that the state under embattled Governor Andrew Cuomo made a mistake by allowing indoor fitness classes and indoor college sports to resume.
“Our experience with COVID-19 leads to a clear answer: yes, we have to remain concerned, we have to remain vigilant. All the more so because we have a chance to be in the homestretch of this marathon because of vaccination, and the places where we are the most concerned are what we have consistently messaged over the last few weeks, and the last few months,” Chokshi said. “We know outdoors is safer than indoors. We know that places where people are not able to wear a mask consistently and properly are higher risk activities, and we know that larger gatherings confer more risks than smaller gatherings. So those are the activities where we really have to ensure that we remain cautious and methodical with respect to reopening.”
Despite the so-called progress in the vaccination effort, de Blasio said it may be too early to tell whether or not that is attributable to the decline in hospitalizations and deaths, but is confident significant progress in defeating the virus is being made.