New York City plans to open five large-scale vaccination centers in the coming weeks, which will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to move towards a cumulative capacity of up to 100,000 vaccine doses per week.
Mayor Bill de Blasio made the announcement Tuesday saying two sites will be operational beginning this weekend.
The City also continues to call on State and Federal partners to open up the eligibility criteria so New York City can immediately begin vaccinating more New Yorkers, and accelerate the speed of vaccine manufacturing to ensure there is sufficient supply to rapidly reach all New Yorkers as soon as possible.
“We need to cut through red tape and get as many shots in arms as possible,” said Mayor de Blasio.
“With mass vaccination centers, we will be providing 24/7 vaccination in all five boroughs and dramatically increasing the pace of vaccination.
"This is a race against the clock, and we need our State and Federal partners to give us the flexibility and supply we need to reach the maximum number of people as quickly as possible," he added.
And de Blasio has written Vice President Mike Pence, who is the head of Operation: Warp Speed, a letter in which he outlines the City’s immediate needs and key steps to address each one.
Among the demands in mayor de Blasio’s letter include, increased speed of vaccine manufacturing, a fair share of the vaccine, advance notice of allocation, flexibility with distribution populations, faster vaccination of nursing home residents, staff, equal reimbursement for vaccination and testing and FDA approval to pre-fill syringes with vaccine.
Meanwhile, Mayor de Blasio also called for a full travel ban from the United Kingdom to New York City, as the new COVID-19 strain continues to spread.
Although it has not yet been detected in New York City, New York State reported its first case of the new strain yesterday in Saratoga Springs.
“In our City’s historic vaccine campaign, which represents our final push against the COVID-19 pandemic, every tool has to be on the table, as we work to go as far and as fast as we can connecting New Yorkers with the safe, easy, and free vaccine,” said Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Melanie Hartzog.
“By standing up large-scale vaccination locations, we’re aiming to dramatically increase our capacity to ramp up this process quickly – underscoring what we could do with greater clarity and advanced notice on eligible populations.
"We’re excited to expand our efforts even further and look forward to sharing more details soon as we explore the full scope of what our City can do once given a real green light," he added.
“This is an all-hands effort that will require every part of the government to pitch in,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Dave A. Chokshi.
“The City is focused on capacity as we open as many places for people to get vaccinated as possible. Every access point is critical," Chokshi added.