NEW YORK — Mayor Bill de Blasio made a bold New Year’s resolution.
The city is aiming to have 1 million New Yorkers vaccinated for COVID by the end of January, de Blasio announced Thursday.
“This is going to be a massive effort. This is going to be part of the largest single vaccination effort in the history of New York City. It’s going to take a lot of work,” he said at his morning news briefing. “We’re making clear to the whole world we can achieve a million vaccinations in January.”
To move the vaccination effort into “overdrive,” de Blasio said the city would launch new vaccine hubs, offer vaccinations at city Test and Trace sites and scale up the vaccination capacity of local community groups.
So far, 88,000 New Yorkers have been vaccinated, but de Blasio said it’s nowhere near enough and called on the federal and state governments, as well as vaccine manufacturers, to help the city in reaching its ambitious goal.
City Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi projected the city would have to double the number of sites it uses to provide vaccinations, saying it plans to have 250 sites up and running by February. Some of those sites will be housed in public school gymnasiums and city housing complexes.
New York City now has the capacity to administer 150,000 vaccine doses per week. according to Deputy Mayor Melanie Hartzog, who predicted that by the end of January, it will be able to vaccinate up to 300,000 people a week.
“These are aggressive goals,” Chokshi said. “We need a sufficient supply of vaccine with a clear road map of what New York City can expect to receive from the federal government, not just for next week, but for the months ahead.”
The city is now vaccinating people who fall into the first priority group to receive doses — hospital workers, EMTs and people who work and live in nursing homes. To speed up the rate of vaccinations, Chokshi said the city wants to expand that group to include home health workers and other lower priority health care workers.
“For us to move quickly, as is our intent, we have to be able to expand the circle of eligibility swiftly,” he said.
To expand vaccinations out of the first priority group, the city would need authorization from the state government as well as additional vaccine supply.