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As the number eligible for vaccine grows, the number of doses does not, say leaders

Posted at 6:59 PM, Jan 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-12 22:40:55-05

MANHATTAN — Both New York's governor and New York City's mayor said on Tuesday that the number of places administering coronavirus vaccines to New Yorkers is growing, as is the number of residents of the state who are eligible to get vaccinated.

However, they said, the number of vaccines available is not growing at the same rate, and that that could lead to a crisis.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said that it was a simple matter of supply and demand.

"At the rate we're going," he said at his morning news conference, "we're going to be out in less than two weeks."

He said that the city had administered more than 26,000 doses on Monday alone, and that the number was increasing daily.

"We are well on track for hitting our goal for this week of 175,000 vaccinations," de Blasio reported.

He added that in addition to now having three 24-hour, 7 days a week inoculation sites, and dozens of vaccination sites around the city open during business hours.

"We are going to have a 24/7, mega-vaccination site at Citi Field," said de Blasio. "This is going to be fantastic."

At the same time as the mayor's news conference, Gov. Andrew Cuomo held a phone conference with journalists. He said that a new development from Washington may have a mixed effect for now.

"The CDC just announced that states should open up vaccines to 65-plus," the governor said, meaning that people aged 65 and older can now make a reservation to be vaccinated.

For New York state, that means that 7 million residents are now eligible for the vaccine, but the supply of the two available vaccines is about 300,000 per week, said Cuomo.

"Everyone is going to be oversubscribed," the governor continued, as he noted that the supply is, at least for now, short of the increasing demand. "You're telling people you're eligible, but simultaneously telling people we don't have enough doses to get to you. Is that helpful?" he asked. "I don't think so."

The two vaccines available in the U.S., from Pfizer/BioNtech and Moderna, require second doses for everyone who gets vaccinated.

Gov. Cuomo said that federal policy has made obtaining second doses challenging.

"The federal government has been stockpiling second doses," he said, adding that while there was "some wisdom to it," the practice did not help in trying to ensure that supply meets demand.

However, later on Tuesday, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced that the federal government would no longer stockpile vaccines.

Both Gov. Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio on Tuesday called on the incoming Biden administration to make the higher production and wider distribution of vaccines a priority.