NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- After a rollout that some officials admit was slow, the push is on to get more people vaccinated against COVID-19 in New York -- and vaccinated quickly.
People have started snapping up appointments at the vaccination sites that have opened over the past couple days, and on Wednesday, two more sites are being added to the mix: one in Westchester County and the other at the Javits Center in New York City.
The Javits, which functioned as a massive field hospital last spring when New York City was the epicenter of the pandemic, will now serve as a huge vaccine distribution center.
It opened at 8 a.m. Wednesday, along with a new site at Westchester County Center in White Plains.
You'll need an appointment at both, and making one could be tough as the sites are already booked for weeks.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said that at the current rate, the city is expecting to run out of vaccines next week. He called on the federal government to release more doses.
If you're eligible, you can make appointments at nyc.gov/vaccinefinder or by calling 877-VAX-4NYC.
With the new directive posted by the CDC Tuesday, 7 million New Yorkers are now eligible for the vaccine. And it couldn't come at a better time, as there are now 15 cases of the more contagious variant in New York State, two of them in New York City.
The two New York City cases involve a person from Queens and a person from Manhattan.
Aside from the two cases in NYC, there are four cases in Saratoga County and two in Warren County in a cluster connected to a jewelry store in Saratoga Springs. A second cluster has been identified and includes two cases in Suffolk County, two cases from Nassau County and the Queens case in NYC.
De Blasio said the cases are proof that a travel ban is needed.
"Although I appreciate the federal government is finally acting to restrict who can get onto an international flight, requiring them to have a negative coronavirus test, that's not good enough," he said. "There should be an immediate travel ban from the UK to the US. Here's proof positive. Someone who was in the UK has brought the variant back here. We need that stopped. Flights from the UK should be canceled immediately by the federal government. So two cases, obviously they are being followed up and supported. Test and trace, and we will follow up with updates."
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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo pointed out Tuesday that, there are only vaccine 300,000 doses a week coming from federal government, so delays and appointment backlogs are to be expected.
Looking ahead, Cuomo says he is now eyeing rapid testing as a ticket that can help bring New York back from pandemic shutdowns.
"Why can't we use rapid testing to open restaurants in orange zone theaters, offices?" the governor said during part two of his State-of-the-State address on Tuesday. "There are so many options. Next, we will work with the local real estate community to open additional rapid testing sites where people can receive a rapid test hours prior to patronizing a business or engaging in a social activity."
New York State vaccination sites:
State Fair Expo Center, Onondaga County
Westchester County Center
Jones Beach, Nassau County - Drive-Thru
Next week, more state sites open:
SUNY Stony Brook (LI)
SUNY Binghamton property in Johnson City
Dome Arena, Rochester
Plattsburgh Airport - Drive-thru
Utica Memorial Auditorium
U Buffalo South Campus
Aqueduct Race Track, Queens
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