New York City will not administer one million vaccine doses by end of January, mayor says

Members Of New York Police Department Receive Covid-19 Vaccine
A healthcare worker prepares a dose of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine at Queens Police Academy in the Queens borough of New York, U.S., January 11, 2021.
Jeenah Moon/Pool via REUTERS

New York City will probably not reach Mayor Bill de Blasio’s ambitious goal of administering one million doses by the end of January. 

So far, the city has administered 628,831 doses of the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine since shipments first arrived last month. Mayor de Blasio said Monday that the city aimed to administer 300,000 doses to New York City residents last week but received about 100,000 fewer doses than anticipated from the federal government. 

 Delayed shipments of the vaccine from Washington have stymied the city’s rollout of the vaccine resulting in the cancellation of roughly 23,000 appointments and delaying the opening of large vaccination hubs at Citi Field and Yankee Stadium. 

” We could have reached an additional 100,000 more New Yorkers if the supply had been there,” said de Blasio. With supplies in hand, de Blasio said the city could put 500,000 shots in arms per week. 

We are certainly going to get a lot done this week, as much supply as we have, but we are not going to be able to soar until we get more supply and more flexibility.” 

De Blasio along with his chief health advisor, Dr. Jay Varma, tried to assure New Yorkers that the city would be able to ramp up its vaccine rollout as the Biden administration worked to release federal reserves of the vaccine currently being held for second doses. 

Both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines require patients receive two shots, roughly three weeks apart, in order to be inoculated against the virus. Dr. Varma added the city could receive a big boost to its vaccination effort once shipments of the single-shot Johnson&Johnson COVID-19 vaccine reaches the city in late February or early March. 

Clinical trials of the vaccine from Janssen, the pharmaceutical branch of Johnson & Johnson, could be released within the next two weeks, according to Chief Medical Advisor to President Joe Biden Dr. Anthony Fauci. 

“If it’s as effective or even close to as effective as the two vaccines that we have right now then it will be a tremendous game-changer,” said Varma.