In his final State of the City address, Mayor Bill de Blasio pledged to vaccinate five million of New York City’s 8.4 million residents by June.
In an 18-page proposal, and pre-recoded video, entitled “A Recovery for All of Us,” de Blasio outlined a massive vaccination plan, with scant details, to jumpstart the city’s post-pandemic comeback. The vaccination effort, along with the bevy of other de Blasio comeback proposals, is meant to turn New York City into a leader in pandemic recovery.
“We will reach high levels of immunity to create a safer city, a city ready for a full comeback. It will be a signal to the world that the comeback is happening right here,” de Blasio said.
Since shipments of the vaccine first arrived in December, over 699,520 doses of FDA-approved vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna have been administered across the five boroughs, according to the city’s vaccine tracker.
And although vaccination rollout has been sluggish, de Blasio announced earlier this week that the city would receive 30% more of the Moderna vaccine in its weekly shipments of the shot and reopened all 15 city vaccination sites which were temporarily closed due to dose shortages.
In order to help meet this goal, de Blasio said the city currently trying to recruit 2,000 members of a new Vaccine for All Corps to join the 3,900 already existing Health Department vaccination workers across the city’s 412 vaccination sites.
Worker recruitment will take place in the city’s 28 neighborhoods hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic which are spread out among all five boroughs. Those that are recruited to serve their own neighborhoods will work as general staff in vaccination sites.
In order to better lead the city into its recovery, the mayor said, the city will begin to bring back its workforce still working from by May as another signal to the world that the COVID recovery is happening in New York.
Last year was not just defined by the arrival of COVID-19, but also by sweeping calls for police reform across the country sparked by the death of George Floyd.
In response to the mass protests in New York City which began last summer, and still continue almost nightly in 2021, de Blasio created a task force on Racial Inclusion and Equity made up of city government leaders of color, charged with “identifying new opportunities to push for progress and address inequality.”
De Blasio credits the task force with identified the communities hardest hit by COVID, the city’s Landlord-Tenant Mediation project, and the $2.3 million One Fair Wage award which helped 100 restaurants keep their employees during the pandemic.
Now, in the spirit of recovery, that task force will become permanent.
The city’s mass vaccination effort will directly support it pandemic economic recovery, de Blasio during his address. By vaccinating millions of New Yorkers, the city could account for 25% of all restored jobs within the next two years, de Blasio said. The city could also see as much as 125,000 jobs return in the hospitality sector which suffered a harsh blow when the virus forced people indoors.
In addition, de Blasio’s vision of turning New York City into the public health capital of the world could also mean more jobs as investments in the city’s life and science sector continue to grow.