Some hospitals running low on vaccine in NYC, as new NYCHA clinics set to open

Coronavirus update for NYC

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Saturday, January 16, 2021
Vaccine supply running low at many NYC hospitals
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Naveen Dhaliwal reports COVID vaccine supply is running critically low across several hospitals in New York City.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Vaccine supply is stretching thin across several hospitals in New York City, causing some to cancel or stop scheduling new appointments.

Mount Sinai Hospital said it canceled public vaccination appointments from Friday, January 15, through Tuesday, January 19, due to supply shortages.

A spokesperson with Mount Sinai said the hospital will inform patients when more supplies become available and reopen vaccination appointments for eligible patients.

For those who have appointments scheduled after Tuesday, Mount Sinai said it will provide updates as it knows more.

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NYU Langone is no longer scheduling new appointments due to their supply constraints.

Supply is "running very low" and though they are not canceling appointments, they will not return to booking new appointments until they can guarantee they have the shots in hand, an NYUL spokesperson told ABC.

They emphasize they have the capacity to administer more, they just need the doses to do it.

"It's just really low -- we want to get shots in arms, we just need the supplies," the spokesperson said.

They have not been able to confirm when the next shipment is going to be.

Mayor Bill de Blasio has predicted the city would run out of vaccines next week.

"Even with normal supplies that we expect to have delivered next week, we will run out of vaccine, at some point next week, unless we get a major new resupply because so many New Yorkers want the vaccine and we have the ability to give it to them," de Blasio said. "What do we need? We need the federal government, the state government, and the manufacturers to step up and get us more supply immediately."

The mayor previously said he wanted a million city residents vaccinated this month, but at this rate, a former assistant FDA commissioner called that totally made up and pure fantasy.

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However, the city is set to open vaccination clinics in NYCHA developments, providing on-site vaccinations for residents 65 or older.

Clinics are set to open at the Van Dyke I & II Houses in Brooklyn, Cassidy Lafayette Houses in Staten Island, and Polo Grounds Towers in Manhattan this coming weekend, with plans to move to different sites across the city in the coming weeks.

At Northwell, the supply is tight, though they are not currently canceling appointments.

The way their system is set up, they do not book appointments for doses they don't have, a Northwell spokesperson said. But the supply they are currently operating with is "limited," and moreover varies site by site -- and appointments are booking quickly.

"The number of vaccination PODs and our capacity to book appointments will remain dependent on the vaccine supply and, because the number of those doses is still limited, we encourage everyone interested in getting the vaccine to stay patient," the spokesperson said.

NewYork-Presbyterian is not canceling appointments and released a statement:

"On our first day at the Armory, we vaccinated more than 750 people," it read. "We are continuing to make new appointments, with more than 3,300 scheduled through this weekend. We want to get as many New Yorkers vaccinated as quickly as possible."

The New York Health Department said the issue stems from the federal government expanding groups without expanding supply.

"We now have 7 million New Yorkers eligible for a vaccine, and the feds are only providing 300,000 per week," a spokesperson said. "New York needs more vaccines from the federal government. The challenge is we can only vaccinate as fast as the federal supply allows. We ask for patience as we implement the largest single vaccination effort in state history."

To add to the problem, the general counsel for the Office of Information Technology Services said an unauthorized scheduling link was published this week.

The governor's office said it was a legitimate, internal link that was erroneously shared to the public and put out on social media, so people who had this link "had unfair advantage that others didn't."

The following statement was released regarding the mistake:

"It has come to our attention that an unpublished scheduling link was shared without authorization on social media this week, allowing some New Yorkers to make vaccine appointments for state-operated sites that are not currently open and were not taking appointments at Binghamton, Buffalo, Plattsburgh, Potsdam, Stony Brook and Utica. Out of an abundance of caution we referred this issue to the Inspector General. As this pandemic has shown, equity and equal access are critical in distributing the vaccine, and to ensure these principles are followed all unauthorized appointments have been voided - we are currently contacting everyone who used the unauthorized link to inform them of the situation. We will continue to safeguard all New Yorkers' information and ensure equal access to the vaccine for everyone eligible. As a reminder, the only way to sign up for vaccinations at State-operated locations is through the Department of Health's Am I Eligible website."

Those who had made appointments with this link are being informed, and no one who signed up for these vaccines received one. That's because the link was for sites that had not been set up yet, an official said.

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