Covid vaccine: New York to run out of doses by Thursday, warns mayor

Danielle Zoellner
·3 min read
<p>Mayor Bill de Blasio warns New York City will run out of vaccine doses by Thursday</p> (AP)

Mayor Bill de Blasio warns New York City will run out of vaccine doses by Thursday

(AP)

New York City could run out of Covid-19 vaccine doses by Thursday, warned Mayor Bill de Blasio, which could force the city to cancel vaccination appointments.

“We will have literally nothing left to give as of Friday,” Mr de Blasio said. “What does that mean? It means that if we do not get more vaccine quickly, a new supply of vaccine, we will have to cancel appointments and no longer give shots after Thursday for the reminder of the week at a lot of our sites.”

The warning came during the mayor’s coronavirus press briefing on Tuesday morning.

Last week the city administered 220,00 vaccine doses after eligibility opened up to include more residents and more vaccination sites were created. In total, 455,737 vaccine doses have been administered by New York City.

Now the city only had about 92,000 doses left to give out to recipients, meaning it would quickly run out by the end of the week.

“As of yesterday, we were vaccinating New Yorkers at the rate of three New Yorkers per second,” Mr de Blasio told CNN on Monday. “The fact is we plan this week to do hundreds of thousands of doses … we need a massive re-supply."

Mr de Blasio announced earlier in the year that he wanted to administer one million doses in the month of January for residents, but that could be a problem if the city doesn’t receive enough allotment each week from the federal government.

“I don’t have enough vaccine to keep up with the demand or our ability to give the doses,” he said.

The city could be forced to close some of its 125 vaccination sites due to inability to give out doses, Mr de Blasio said.

This comes after New York Governor Andrew Cuomo requested to purchase vaccine doses directly from Pfizer, a Manhattan-based pharmaceutical company. He claimed the federal government was not providing the state vaccine doses fast enough, leading to a shortage.

The federal government was sending 250,000 doses to New York this week, Mr Cuomo said, which was 50,000 less than what the state received last week.

Mr Cuomo suggested that Pfizer could sell its vaccine doses directly to the states because it wasn’t under the same contractural obligation to Operation Warp Speed like Moderna, the other company to receive emergency use authorisation for its vaccine.

“The company’s decision to opt out of Operation Warp Speed, which the Biden administration plans to overhaul, puts it in a unique situation that could help us save lives right here in New York,” Mr Cuomo wrote in a letter to Pfizer.

But Pfizer said the US Department of Health and Human Services would have to approve the suggestion based on the emergency use authorisation the company received from the Food and Drug Administration to distribute its vaccine.

The incoming Biden administration has vowed to further invest in vaccine manufacturing and distribution through a $400bn Covid relief plan. This was in an effort to get one million vaccine doses into Americans within Joe Biden’s first 100 days of office.

But it would be an uphill battle for the Biden administration to improve vaccine manufacturing and distribution so states like New York would not face potential shortages.

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