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City to aggressively scale up COVID-19 vaccinations

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Moses Kuwema 

The City announced Monday plans to aggressively scale up its capacity for COVID-19 vaccinations citywide. 

And Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Monday that 170 New Yorkers died due to COVID-19 in New York State on Sunday, and eleven of those deaths were recorded in the Bronx.

Over 125 vaccination sites are now open across the city, with plans to expand to a total of 160 sites by this weekend and 250 by the end of the month. 

The number of eligible New Yorkers continues to expand, as additional healthcare workers and front-line staff in patient-facing roles are now able to be vaccinated.

This expansion is part of the ongoing provision of vaccines to individuals in Phase 1A, which began with high-risk healthcare workers  and staff and residents at long-term care facilities. 

As of Monday morning, New York City administered more than 110,000 doses to individuals in Phase 1A.

“From manufacturing PPE, to building out a comprehensive testing system, the pandemic has showed us that New York City doesn’t back down in the face of a challenge,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. 

“We are moving full steam ahead with our plan to get vaccines out of the freezer and into the arms of more New Yorkers, but we can’t do this alone. To accelerate our pace, we need more support and flexibility from our partners at every level of government, as well as more supply from manufacturers to map out the road ahead.”

New vaccination sites will be developed and opened at a range of new and existing locations this week, including: Health + Hospitals Gotham Health facilities, Pop-up Vaccine Clinics hosted by DOHMH, NYC Vaccine Hubs, and other locations.

The vaccinating facility will require individuals seeking vaccines to complete the NYS COVID-19 Vaccine Form in order to track demographic and occupational characteristics of vaccine recipients. 

New York State requires the provider administering the vaccine to check the form for completeness. 

The NYSDOH vaccine form includes a self-attestation regarding eligibility for vaccination. Vaccination eligibility must be based on current employment status.

In addition, individuals will need to bring proof of employment, such as an employee ID card, a letter from their employer or affiliated organization, or a recent pay stub.

As of January 4, 2021, the following groups are eligible for COVID-19 vaccine: All outpatient and ambulatory frontline, high-risk health care providers who provide in-person patient care or other staff in a position where they have direct contact with patients of any age. 

This includes hospital and community-based ambulatory care, primary care, and outpatient behavioral health service providers; phlebotomists; physical and occupational therapists; and specialty clinics, including dialysis centers.
All frontline, high-risk public health workers who have direct contact with patients, Health care workers at COVID-19 testing sites, High-risk hospital and Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) staff, Emergency medical service (EMS) personnel, Medical examiners and coroners, Funeral workers who have direct contact with infectious material and bodily fluids
Others are Staff and residents in congregate living facilities run by the NYS Offices for People With Developmental Disabilities, Mental Health, and Addiction Services and Supports Urgent care providers, Staff administering the COVID-19 vaccine, Dentists and dental staff.

“This expansion of eligibility to more New Yorkers will enable us to get the vaccine to hundreds of thousands more New Yorkers in the coming  weeks,” said Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Melanie Hartzog. 

“As part of this expansion––and as we await more guidance from the Federal and State governments about upcoming expansions, including when we can start vaccinating certain populations, so we can more effectively plan ahead––we’re doing everything we can at the City level with the information we have to ensure we’re preparing with sufficient sites where New Yorkers can go to get the vaccine when the time comes.

"This includes developing and deploying  new site models as well as adding more vaccination capacity to existing vaccination locations, which we’ll begin to open this week, helping us hit the ground running as soon as we’re permitted to move forward more broadly.”

“Making more New Yorkers eligible will quicken the pace of vaccination for the entire city,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Dave. A. Chokshi. 

“To accommodate these individuals, we will be launching new sites where eligible New Yorkers can get vaccinated including hubs at local high schools and build the capacity at neighborhood clinics.”

Meanwhile, Governor Cuomo said New York State has so far recorded a total of 30,648 COVID-19 deaths. 

According to the update he gave on the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bronx has continued to see its positivity rate of the virus go up.

In the last three days, the positivity rate stood at 7.65 percent for Friday, 7.28 percent for Saturday and 7.31 percent for Sunday.

Other boroughs that recorded the highest positivity rate were Staten Island with 7.45 percent recorded on Friday, 7.23 percent for Saturday and 7.15 percent for Sunday.

Queens saw its positivity rate at 7.32 percent for Friday, 7.04 percent for Saturday and 6.99 percent for Sunday, while Brooklyn had a positivity rate of 6.35 percent for Friday, 5.94 percent for Saturday and 5.90 percent for Sunday.
Manhattan continues to have the lowest positivity rate in the city at 3.80 percent for Friday, 3.49 percent for Saturday and 3.52 percent for Sunday respectively.

8,251 patient hospitalizations were recorded statewide with 1,357 patients in the ICU and 843 intubated. The positivity rate for the state stood at 8.34 percent. 

"In 2021, we're going to be focusing on controlling and defeating COVID and to do that, we have two different goals we're working on simultaneously–controlling the spread, and then putting a harpoon in the beast and actually defeating the virus thanks to the vaccine," Governor Cuomo said. 

"What we're seeing in New York and all across this country is growing numbers of hospitalizations, infections and deaths, and they are all a consequence of our actions. 

"We defeat COVID the way we've been controlling it for the past year, as a function of our activity. If the infection rate increases, then regions can close and that's the last thing anybody wants. If you don't want that, then do something about it–be smart, practice safe behaviors and reduce the infection rate."

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