Citing vaccine shortage, NYPD halts first dose COVID-19 vaccinations

Coronavirus update for NYC

ByEyewitness News via WABC logo
Wednesday, January 20, 2021
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NJ Burkett has more on the shortage of COVID vaccine doses in New York City.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Mayor Bill de Blasio said that Moderna's vaccine deliveries have been delayed. As a result of an already existing shortage and the Moderna delay, the NYPD is halting first dose vaccinations.

"Effective immediately, due to a statewide shortage, the department will temporarily cease the first dose of distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine," said an internal message distributed to officers Wednesday morning.

The department started vaccinating officers Monday, and vaccinated 12,000 officers in the first four days alone.

Officers who already got the first shots will be able to get their second shots three weeks afterward.

The FDNY said they would be following suit and also halting first dose vaccinations starting on 1/25. The FDNY said it has first dose appointments booked through 1/24. Second dose appointments began Wednesday. Second dose appointments were expected to continue past 1/24.

So far, 7,000 FDNY members have received the vaccine.

The department hopes to resume first dose vaccinations ones more vaccine supply is received. The Department expects to receive more, but we are uncertain as to the arrival date and quantity at this time.

The FDNY said they have seen about 60% acceptance for the vaccine among its members.

New York City has vaccinated 494,596 people so far for COVID-19.

The mayor is requesting from the federal government the ability to use second doses as first doses.

"We have had to reschedule 23,000 New Yorkers, and tell them that they will not be able to get that appointment due to lack of supply," de Blasio said.

RELATED: Actor Steve Martin jokes as he receives COVID vaccine at Javits Center

Mayor de Blasio said that if given the ability to give out the vaccines being reserved for second doses, they would be able to put 65,000 doses into play.

"We need to rethink the approach in this moment," he said. "We need to be agile and creative to address the challenge at hand."

The mayor said the goal is to vaccinate 50,000 residents of public housing over age 65, over the next few weeks. That effort is underway.

Late Wednesday afternoon, Governor Andrew Cuomo said the state's supply of vaccine is about to run out.

"At this rate, we only have two or three days of supply," Cuomo said. "We will start to get the next week's allocation, but what's clear now is that we are going to be going from week to week."

The city has a goal of vaccinating 1 million people by the end of the month, and is currently vaccinating at a pace of 300,000 a week. However, they will be unable to meet that goal without supply.

Mayor de Blasio said that he has faith that the Biden Administration will be able to get an increase in production and supply. Positivity for COVID-19 in the city is at 8.53%.

Still, the mayor said the city is in danger of having to shut down its vaccination centers Thursday.

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.

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

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