New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio voiced an aggressive plan to vaccinate 1 million New Yorkers by the end of January, marking the largest vaccination effort in the city’s history.
“The city can do it. The city’s amazing healthcare professionals are ready,” de Blasio said during a briefing.
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He made detailed plans to expand to operational vaccination sites and install new sites, or so-called “COVID-19 vaccination centers”, at community clinics and locations in the city.
“Our goal is to move upwards of 250 locations in the city,” de Blasio said.
Describing the help needed from the federal and state governments as well as vaccine manufacturers, he said, “It will take a lot of work, it will take a lot of urgency and attention.”
The mayor said 88,000 New Yorkers have been vaccinated so far.
“Now we need to go into overdrive,” De Blasio said.
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“Decentralized bottom-up efforts” will include expanded vaccination at vaccination centers, testing and trace sites, and enhancing capacity to work by local organizations, all under the auspices of the Vaccine Command Center.
De Blasio said the wealthy and privileged would not be allowed to use the “line jump” for quick access to vaccines. The city’s first priority is on high-risk health care workers and nursing home residents and staff.
In addition, New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Choksky said the goal is to double access points for vaccination within a month.
“Part of our strategy includes launching the first dedicated vaccination centers in the city next week,” Choksky said. “These are rapidly evolving as city-run vaccination clinics, school arenas and distribution sites in other sites.”
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The health commissioner said the first sites would start in mid-January, with plans to expand to 45,000 doses per week if plans allow.
Choksky said the locations of the sites were selected and prioritized based on the hazards, severely affected neighborhoods, “mostly communities of color”.
Finally, de Blasio marked March 14 as a day to remember the 25,000 New Yorkers who lost their lives to the novel virus.