New York City starts inoculating some members of COVID-19 vaccination group 1B

FILE PHOTO: A staff member at Hamilton Park Nursing and Rehabilitation, a nursing home facility, receives the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine from Walgreens Pharmacist Craig Brandt in Brooklyn, New York, U.S., January 4, 2021. REUTERS/Yuki Iwamura/File Photo

New York City will start inoculating residents 75-years-old and older against COVID-19 on Monday now that members of the state’s 1B vaccination group are eligible to receive the shot. 

Governor Andrew Cuomo expanded the groups allowed to receive an FDA-approved vaccine last week, after another game of political tug of war with the mayor, to include some of the state’s most vulnerable residents as well as police officers, firefighters, teachers, and public transit workers. 

The expanded vaccination groups coincide with the opening of two of the city’s 24-hour vaccination hubs in the Bronx at South Bronx Educational Campus and in Brooklyn at Bushwick Educational Campus in order to speed up a sluggish vaccination rollout. 

Mayor de Blasio said Monday a total of 101, 799 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine were administered to New York City residents last week, about as many that were administered during the month of December and early January. The goal this week is to deliver 175,000 shots in the New Yorkers’ arms, he added, in an effort to reach his goal of administering one million doses of the vaccine by the end of this month. 

“We are picking up the pace intensely…and we feel good about that goal,” de Blasio said. A handful of new 24-hour vaccination sites will later this month including one at 125 Worth St. in Lower Manhattan on Tuesday, at Gotham Health on Staten Island on Wednesday, a yet-to-be-determined location in Corona, Queens on Saturday, and at Empire Outlets on Staten Island next week. Vaccination hubs will administer Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine, according to a city health department spokesperson. 

Only two vaccines, from Pfizer and Moderna, have been approved by the FDA for mass use. Both vaccines require that patients receive two shots roughly three weeks apart. After receiving both doses, the inoculations have about a 95% efficacy rate of protection against the virus. One of the biggest differences between the two vaccines is that Moderna’s can be stored in normal freezers while Pfizer’s needs to be stored at an extra-cold temperature. 

New York City residents can check to see if they are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine and if so where they can access one on the city’s vaccine finder website nyc.gov/vaccinefinder. New Yorkers that qualify for a vaccine can register to do so after filling out a questionnaire also found on the city website. Those interested in learning more about where to access a COVID-19 vaccine can call 877-VAX-4NYC.  Critics have complained that the city’s website is confusing and could possibly deter some older New Yorkers from receiving the vaccine. 

“We absolutely want the simplest possible system, folks are going through a lot,” said de Blasio in response to reporter questions on whether the city planned to streamline the registration process. “That said there is really important information that is required by law and we got to get that right up front.” 

The vaccination news comes as the city continues to experience a surge in new cases of COVID-19. On Monday, City Hall reported 4,904 new cases of the virus, and 247 New York City residents were admitted to a hospital for suspected COVID-19. In addition, officials said the city’s COVID positivity rate based on a seven-day rolling average had reached 8.8%. 


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