NYC could close vaccine centers Thursday; Pfizer denies Cuomo's request to buy vaccines for state

Coronavirus update for NYC

ByEyewitness News via WABC logo
Tuesday, January 19, 2021
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NJ Burkett reports on the vaccine shortage in New York City.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Pfizer denied New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's request to buy shots directly from the drugmaker, saying they need federal permission first.

"It would be a first. Look my job as governor of New York is to pursue every avenue and that's what I'm doing," Cuomo said. "If Pfizer would agree to sell, then we would have that conversation, but first they have to agree to sell."

Cuomo blasted the Trump administration for pushing states to increase eligibility while promising additional doses to cover demand, but those doses never arrived.

The state is receiving a quarter-million vaccines per week, with more than 7 million New Yorkers now eligible.

It could take 7 months to get them vaccinated before anyone else is eligible.

Mayor Bill de Blasio is seemingly frustrated now but says he has hope in the new administration.

"One New Yorker every three seconds vaccinated as of yesterday. We're talking about a pace now going into this week between 200,000 and 300,000 people per week and that rate growing all the time," he said on CNN. "The problem now is just a plain lack of vaccine. You have to think about it. We can't even get out of the week. I mean think how astounding that is. Again, you're right, in the United States of America how is that possible when we're a year into this crisis?"

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Still, the mayor said the city is in danger of having to shut down its vaccination centers this Thursday. The city will run out of shots by Friday. There are just 92,000 first doses left.

So far, 220,000 city residents were vaccinated this past week for a total of 455,737 people vaccinated.

Mayor de Blasio said that if the city gets a resupply of the vaccine, they can vaccinate 300,000 per week.

Resupply of the vaccine is set to happen next Tuesday. If centers shut down, they would reopen the following day on Wednesday. The city is set to open more mega-vaccination centers at Citi Field, Empire Outlets, and Yankee Stadium, but will be unable to do so without a resupply.

One mass vaccination site, The Brooklyn Army Terminal did reopen Monday with a small supply of vaccine after they were closed for three days.

Statewide, Long island is of particular concern with a positivity rate of 7.84%, which is higher than the state average.

Cuomo saying he believes Long Islanders have let their guard down.

Several pop-up vaccine sites opened Monday to administer whatever doses were available.

RELATED: Where can you get a COVID-19 vaccine? Tracking availability and progress

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