New York has administered less than a third of the coronavirus vaccine doses it has on hand so far — even as Mayor de Blasio boldly claimed Thursday he’d have a million city residents inoculated within a month.
Around 630,000 vaccine doses have been sent to the Empire State, but just 203,000 doses had actually made their way into New Yorkers’ arms as of Wednesday, state data shows.
The figure, around 32 percent, is slightly higher than the national rate, with around 22.5 percent of the 12.4 million doses distributed being administered as of Wednesday, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In New York City, some 88,000 people have received a first dose over the last three weeks, as the vaccine began being administered to health care workers and nursing home residents.
“We are far, far behind where we need to be,” said Councilman Mark Levine, chairman of the New York City Health Committee.
Levine noted that the Big Apple has 500,000 health care workers alone in the high-risk category.
“We should be vaccinating 400,000 people a week,” he told The Post, calling the inoculation effort “the biggest, highest-stake challenge of the pandemic.”
De Blasio on Thursday vowed that far more people would get the shot next month.
“We’re going to vaccinate 1 million New Yorkers in January,” de Blasio told CNN.
“More and more people want to get the vaccine and we’re going to do that,” he said, calling the campaign a “call to arms.”
However, the city had only received 347,525 doses as of Thursday.
In order to achieve the mayor’s stated goal, officials will need to come up with a well-coordinated planning and mobilization effort, said Ayman el-Mohandes, dean of the CUNY School of Public Health.
“It’s doable but it will require a lot of organization,” el-Mohandes said.
Getting the 500,000 health care workers and the city’s other first responders vaccinated is “the easiest part,” el-Mohandes added — because they’re captive audiences you can sign up at work.
But moving on to having the elderly and other private citizens vaccinated will be more challenging.
“Everyone of the stages depends on human behavior,” el-Mohandes said. “How are you going to reach these people?”
Even among health care facilities, there seem to have been some snags in getting staffers vaccinated.
Brahim Ardolic, the CEO of Staten Island University Hospital said Thursday that out of 6,500 workers at the hospital, just under 2,000 have been vaccinated.
“We would love to get more doses” from the state, Ardolic said. “I have people who want to get vaccinated.”
“I would love to get 6,500 does on my doorstep, but I’m not expecting it.”
New York state reps said they have been receiving weekly shipments of vaccines from the feds, and expect to have enough for those who’ve received their first dose to have their second after the three-to-four week period needed between the two shots.
Officials noted that around 221,000 of the 630,000 doses were sent to CVS and Walgreens by the feds for the federally-run program to inoculate nursing home residents — and argued that the state-run effort is moving much faster.
“New York has had one of the most successful vaccine rollouts compared to other states,” said Gov. Cuomo senior advisor Rich Azzopardi.
“The goal is to make sure nothing sits on the shelf.”
Trump administration health officials in recent weeks discussed a goal of sending out enough doses to vaccinate 20 million Americans by the end of 2020.
But as of Wednesday, only around 2.8 million first doses had been administered nationwide, according to the CDC — though officials said there is a lag in reporting for some states.
“We agree that that number is lower than what we hoped for,” Moncef Slaoui, one of the heads of Operation Warp Speed, said at a press conference Wednesday.
“We know that it should be better, and we’re working hard to make it better.”
Additional reporting by Kate Sheehy and Lia Eustachewich
Credit: NYPOSTNewzandar News