New York City has a surplus of COVID-19 vaccines this week after delayed shipments finally arrived — so it’s ramping up hours and doubling the number of appointments at some inoculation sites, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday.
The shipment that was supposed to be delivered to the city last week got delayed due to the winter storm that slammed much of the US – and finally made it to Gotham this week, along with the city’s regular weekly vaccine allotment.
“We had a tough week last week because of the storm, delayed shipments of supply of vaccine, but a lot has now come in,” said de Blasio during a City Hall press briefing. “We’re going to blitz this week. This is going to be a very intense week.”
The city is adding overnight shifts at vaccination sites at the Brooklyn Army Terminal, Bathgate Industrial Park in The Bronx and Citi Field in Queens.
Additionally, de Blasio said, “We’re doubling the number of appointments at some of the key sites in communities where we’re focusing on fighting disparity.”
Those sites include Teachers Preparatory High School in Brooklyn and Martin Van Buren High School in Queens.
New vaccine pop-up sites will also open this week at the First Corinthian Baptist Church in East Harlem and another in Mill Basin, Brooklyn, de Blasio said.
As of Thursday morning, the Big Apple had approximately 189,600 first dose shots and about 237,500 second dose shots on hand, city data showed.
More than 1.6 million shots of the vaccine have been administered in New York City since inoculation efforts began in mid-December.
The mayor also announced Thursday that the city has partnered with the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network non-profit and Choose Healthy Life to create 10 pop-up vaccine clinics at churches at other faith-based organizations across the city.
“People listen to their faith leaders,” de Blasio said. “So we’re going to bring faith communities more and more into this process as we go forward.”
Sharpton virtually joined the briefing from Harlem Hospital where he said he’d just been given the coronavirus vaccine.
“We need to follow the science and do what it says,” Sharpton said, adding, “I’m here saying ‘I cannot afford not to take the shot.’”
When asked by de Blasio why he got jabbed, Sharpton replied, “I personally took the shot because I feel two things: One, that you’ve got to be sure that your loved ones and the people you’re around are not risking themselves being around you because you’re playing some jaded game of Russian Roulette…That’s not fair to your loved ones.”
“Secondly, is that I wanted to set an example,” said Sharpton. “I didn’t want to tell people to go do something that I wasn’t going to do myself.”