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De Blasio warns of scarcity of vaccine in NYC

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Moses Kuwema 

Mayor Bill de Blasio told WNYC on Friday that New York City is on pace to run out of vaccine supply next week and called on the federal government to send additional doses.

And Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Friday that the first five community vaccination kits have been deployed to NYCHA housing developments across New York City.

“We will run out of vaccines next week in New York City,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

“The supply should go to where there is an infrastructure to get it into people’s arms. We know there is supply in this country not being used. As of today, the City has under 186,000 first doses remaining. Two of the City’s largest hospital systems of NYU and Mt. Sinai are no longer booking appointments for the time being and we expect all systems to run out by the end of next week without resupply."

The City reported 33,847 doses yesterday and has already administered more than 337,500 doses to New Yorkers, including more than 42,000 second doses. 

The City has administered 71.3% percent of the 175,000 vaccines it aimed to distribute by the end of this weekend.

And Governor Cuomo said the five community vaccination kits deployed to NYCHA housing developments will bolster New York State's efforts to equitably distribute the COVID-19 vaccine in communities that are underserved by traditional healthcare institutions. 

He said the sites are strictly limited to eligible NYCHA residents and that residents could make appointments by contacting Somos, the state's partner organization, by calling 1-833-SOMOSNY.

Governor Cuomo urged New Yorkers to be patient when making appointments to be vaccinated as the State's vaccine supply is determined by the federal government, and although over 7 million New Yorkers are now eligible for the COVID vaccine, the state only receives 300,000 doses per week from the federal government. 

He said due to the federal government's limited allocation, appointments have filled up quickly and called on New Yorkers to call their local health department, pharmacy, doctor or hospital for additional information and to schedule appointments. 

"We have one priority and one priority alone – getting shots into arms – and as we continue our work to expand the network of vaccination sites, it's critical to make sure the vaccine is distributed fairly and equitably," Governor Cuomo said. 

"Getting the vaccine to New Yorkers who are underserved by traditional health care institutions or living in health care deserts is a top priority, and these sites in NYCHA housing bring us a step closer to that goal. 

"New York doing its part in getting the vaccine distributed quickly and fairly, but we need the federal government to step up and increase the supply. We have come too far and been through too much to finally see the light at the end of the tunnel, only to be stymied by a slow federal distribution process."

The five sites for eligible NYCHA residents with appointments are located at the addresses below: Tremont Avenue-Sedgwick Avenue Area, 200 West Tremont Ave, Bronx. Stuyvesant Gardens II, 150 Malcolm X Blvd. Brooklyn, NY 11221, East Harlem 307 East 116 St., New York, NY 10029, International Tower 90-20 170 St., Queens, NY 11432 and 230 Broad St., Staten Island, NY 10304.

SOMOS Community Care President Dr. Henry Chen said, "We have worked from day one of this pandemic to bring equitable and culturally responsive care to underserved New Yorkers, and we will keep working until everyone is vaccinated—that means essential workers and vulnerable New Yorkers including seniors, who live here at the Corsi Houses. 

"Thank you, Secretary Rosado and Governor Cuomo, for leaning on community physicians like us so that people of color – especially the at-risk and elderly – don't fall through the cracks. 

"Continued collaboration between the city and organizations like SOMOS is vital to combating this pandemic and to build a relationship with underserved communities based on trust throughout the vaccination process. We are here as long as you need us and the residents of Corsi Houses and places just like it need us."

SOMOS Community Care Chairman Dr. Ramon Tallaj said, "Since the beginning, SOMOS has committed each day to the belief that a community is best treated by its own family doctors—by doctors who reflect the languages, cultures, and experiences of the patients and can build trust and relationships that keep patients returning for quality preventative care and treatment when they need it. 

"This imperative is that much greater during our nation's biggest mobilization effort – to vaccinate our people and finally put an end to the pandemic that has taken our loved ones and disproportionately devasted low-income, immigrant, communities of color. 

"I am grateful to Secretary Rosado and Governor Cuomo for collaborating with us in the shared effort of protecting our city and all of its inhabitants, especially here at NYCHA, where so many vulnerable essential workers and elderly New Yorkers live. Here and everywhere, we are ready to continue doing what we do best and deliver a standard of care that provides comfort & confidence just as much as it does good health and effective treatment." 

New York is continuing to move forward on a number of special efforts to ensure resources are in place to facilitate widespread vaccination, especially in underserved communities and health care deserts. 

This deployment is part of the state's efforts to further accelerate the vaccination rate of priority health care workers and begin the vaccination of newly eligible New Yorkers. 

New York has established a network of distribution sites that will supplement the work being done in hospitals to prevent any one hospital from becoming overburdened. 

This new network will also utilize doctors' offices, Federally-Qualified Health Centers, county health departments, ambulatory centers and pharmacies to get doses in the arms of eligible New Yorkers. 

More than 1,200 pharmacies have already committed to participating in this network, with nearly 400 scheduled to come on-line this week. Pharmacies will be provided vaccines for New Yorkers aged 65 and older, while hospitals will continue vaccinating 1a healthcare workers, and local health departments and union-organized efforts will serve essential workers in 1b.

Meanwhile, Governor Cuomo announced that 324,671 COVID-19 test results were reported to New York State on Thursday—a new record high. 

Governor Cuomo also said an additional case of the UK variant was identified in Nassau County, bringing the total number of known cases of the variant in the state to 16.

8,808 patient hospitalizations were recorded statewide, with 1,570 patients in the ICU; 962 intubated, while the statewide positivity rate stood at 6.14 percent.  

A 183 COVID-19 deaths were recorded in New York State on Thursday.

New York City recorded 286 new hospitalizations on Thursday, and 4,650 new COVID-19 cases, representing an 8.70 percent positivity rate during the seven-day average.

"The positivity rate will change when communities decide it will change. It's still purely a function of how a community acts and there's still personal responsibility. We talked about what would happen with COVID spread through the holiday season, and much of the diagnosis came true," Governor Cuomo said. 

"We said that you were going to see the holiday season increase social activity, and I reminded New Yorkers every day to celebrate smart. People said that it was the holiday season and they wanted to celebrate, but if you don't celebrate smart, we'll see an increase in the COVID transmission rate. 

"And we saw an increase in the COVID transmission rate. Over Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa, we shot up like a rocket. After New Year's Day, it started to flatten because the increase in social activity started to flatten. And now, we're starting to see a drop post-New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. And that is good news. We'd rather not have seen the increase, but I believe the increase would have been worse if we weren't smart and disciplined during the holidays."

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