New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio vocalized an aggressive plan Thursday to vaccinate 1 million New Yorkers by the end of January, marking the largest vaccination effort in the city’s history.
“This city can do it. The amazing health care professionals of this city are ready,” de Blasio said during a briefing.
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He detailed plans to expand on operational vaccination sites and set up new sites, or so-called “COVID-19 vaccination hubs,” at community clinics and locations throughout the city.
“Our goal is to get to upwards of 250 locations citywide,” de Blasio said.
“It’s going to take a lot of work, it’s going to take tremendous urgency and focus,” he continued, detailing help needed from the federal and state government as well as vaccine manufacturers.
The mayor said over 88,000 New Yorkers have been vaccinated so far.
“We need to go into overdrive now,” de Blasio said.
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The “decentralized grassroots effort” will involve the vaccine hubs, expanded vaccination at test and trace sites, and scaling up the capacity of local organizations to do the work, all under the facilitation of the Vaccine Command Center.
De Blasio said the wealthy and privileged would not be permitted to “jump the line” for faster access to vaccines. The city’s first priority is set on high-risk health care workers and nursing home residents and staff.
Further, New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokski said the goal is to double the access points for vaccination within a month.
“Part of our strategy includes launching the first dedicated city vaccine hubs in the coming weeks,” Chokski said. “These are city-operated vaccination clinics stood up rapidly as points of distribution in school gymnasiums and other sites.”
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The health commissioner said the first sites will launch in mid-January, administering 45,000 doses per week with plans to expand if supply permits.
The locations of the sites were selected and prioritized based on at-risk, hard-hit neighborhoods, “most often communities of color,” Chokski said.
Finally, de Blasio marked March 14 as a day of remembrance to acknowledge over 25,000 New Yorkers lost to the novel virus.