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Winter storm has delayed NYC’s COVID-19 vaccine shipment again

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New York City’s much-needed COVID-19 vaccine supply for this week has been delayed yet again, thanks to the winter storms slamming much of the US, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday.

De Blasio said during a City Hall press conference that he was hopeful that a shipment of first doses would come in Friday, but he got word during the briefing that “we now think we might not get our first doses for this week until Sunday.”

Normally, the city — which already has been grappling with a vaccine shortage — gets its weekly shipment of the two-dose shots from the federal government on a Tuesday or a Wednesday, de Blasio noted.

“More delays because of the storm, because the deliveries are not arriving,” de Blasio said, adding, “A vast majority of the resupply we expected for this week has not shipped from the factories yet.”

The city this week has already had to hold off on scheduling as many as 35,000 appointments for coronavirus vaccine first doses due to the shipment delays and shortage of vaccine.

de Blasio
Mayor Bill de Blasio said the opening of the new vaccine site at Martin Van Buren High School in Queens will now be “further delayed until Sunday at the earliest.”
James Messerschmidt

“Hopefully this weather will pass in the next couple of days, all over the country, and that’s going to allow things to get back on track, but unfortunately further delays, and that has ramification for one of our [vaccine] sites,” said de Blasio.

The already-delayed new vaccination site at Martin Van Buren High School in Queens was slated to open Friday, but it will now be “further delayed until Sunday at the earliest,” the mayor said.

The new vaccine site at Staten Island’s Empire Outlets will still open Friday as planned after its Thursday opening date got postponed due to the snowstorm.

“This is the situation we’re in. It’s been too hand-to-mouth in general and then it’s been made even worse by the storm,” said de Blasio. “This is why we need a series of changes.”

Hizzoner explained, “We need direct shipment of the vaccine to New York City” and “we need fewer rules from the state government holding us back — more local control.”

“Unfortunately, Mother Nature now is causing us the most immediate problem now with the supply delay,” he said. “We, of course, will overcome them and keep moving forward.”

The latest city data shows that the Big Apple currently has less than 17,500 first doses on hand and fewer than 155,700 second doses on hand.

Typically, the city gets a shipment of approximately 170,000 first-dose vaccine shots per week, officials said.

The city has so far gotten nearly 1.4 million shots into the arms of New Yorkers since vaccination efforts began in mid-December.

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