NYC new mass vaccination centers set to open in five boroughs


Department of Health employee trains NY Army National Guard Soldiers | Photo by U.S. Army National Guard Sgt. Amouris Coss Flickr via Creative Commons

NEW YORK — Five large-scale vaccination centers to operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week are planned to open in the coming weeks, announced Mayor Bill de Blasio today. Two sites will operate beginning this weekend. The goal is to have a cumulative capacity of up to 100,00 vaccines a week.

“We need to cut through red tape and get as many shots in arms as possible,” said Mayor Bill 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.”

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio during his COVID-19 press briefing. | Photo Screengrab C-Span

According to Mayor de Blasio, the City continues to call on State and Federal partners to ensure the City has sufficient supply to reach all New Yorkers rapidly. He said he wrote to Vice President Pence outlining the City’s immediate needs and key steps to address:
-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
-FDA approval to pre-fill syringes with vaccine

Vice President Mike Pence is the head of Operation Warp Speed.

Due to a new COVID-19 strain that continues to spread, the Mayor also called for a full travel ban from the United Kingdom to New York City although no case has yet been detected in the city. In upstate New York, its first case of the new strain was detected Jan. 4.

“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.”

Meanwhile, Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Melanie Hartzog, also said that “every tool has to be on table, as we work to go as far and as fast as we can connecting New Yorkers with the safe, easy, and free vaccine.

“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.”

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