New York City vaccination hubs will reopen when ‘supplies pick up’: Chokshi

People line up at a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination site in Plant City, Florida
FILE PHOTO: A medical worker prepares to administer the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a drive-through COVID-19 vaccination site at the Strawberry Festival Fairgrounds in Plant City, Florida, U.S. January 13, 2021. REUTERS/Octavio Jones

New York City’s 15 vaccination hubs will reopen when “supplies pick up”, health commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi said Thursday. 

Mayor de Blasio closed all the city’s 24-hour hubs on Wednesday due to a delay in shipments of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine from Washington after he warned earlier this week that the city’s supply of both FDA-approved vaccine doses would run out by Friday. 

As a result, 23,000 New York City residents set to receive the vaccine at a hub have had their appointments rescheduled one week from their original appointment. Although appointments to receive the second shot of the vaccine will not be rescheduled, according to Department of Mental Health and Hygiene spokesperson Patrick Gallahue. It is unclear where those who were scheduled at the now-closed hubs will receive their booster shots. 

Both Moderna and Pfizer vaccines have about a 95% efficacy rate in protecting patients from contracting COVID-19 after their take two doses roughly three weeks apart. 

When vaccination hubs were ordered to close on Wednesday, officials said the sites would remain closed until Sunday, Jan. 24. But the city will not receive its weekly supply of vaccines from the federal government until later that week on Wednesday, Jan. 27. 

“We want to get everything in full bore but we’re struggling without the vaccine,” de Blasio told reporters on Thursday. “We’re obviously in a contradiction where you want to open something but there is no vaccine to go with. It sends kind of a false hope to people.”

Community vaccination sites in the Bronx at Bath Gate Industrial and in Brooklyn at the Brooklyn Army Terminal and Staten Island at Health + Hospitals Gotham/Vanderbilt clinic are still administering doses but supplies are running low, said Director of Health and Hospitals Dr. Mitchell Katz. 

Over 530,000 vaccine doses have been administered to New York City residents since shipments of the Pfizer vaccine first arrived in the state last month with almost 70,000 of those doses are booster shots. The state is currently still under phase 1B of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s vaccine distribution plan which allows New Yorkers over the age of 65, teachers, corrections officers, transit workers, in-person college instructors, first responders, and those living and working in homeless shelters to register to get the shot. 

Mayor de Blasio touted that on Wednesday alone 45,000 doses of the vaccine were administered across the five boroughs.

“That number keeps growing all the time,” said de Blasio. “We are going to be at 50,000 a day and even more soon if we have the vaccine to go with that.” 

As shipments on the vaccine stall, new cases of the virus continue to stay well above the city threshold. Officials reported 4,541 new cases of COVID-19 in the city on Thursday and a citywide COVID positivity rate based on a seven day rolling average of 8.83%. 

In addition, 257 New York City residents were admitted to a hospital on Tuesday–all three COVID daily indicators from the mayor’s office have a two-day lag–with about 161 of those people testing positive for the virus.