New York’s vaccine rollout has left out a high-risk group: inmates.


Mr. de Blasio said at a news conference on Tuesday that he wanted to use the pool of vaccines saved for second doses as first doses, but that he was still determined to get people their second doses. He cited new C.D.C. guidelines, which have not been studied in large clinical trials, that allowed a second dose to be given up to six weeks after the first in situations when receiving the second dose in the recommended three to four weeks later, depending on the vaccine, was “not feasible.”

“Anyone who gets a first dose will get a second dose,” Mr. de Blasio said. “The question is timing.”

Mr. de Blasio said that he hoped the coming Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which only requires one dose, will speed up the vaccination process. He said that the city should soon have infrastructure in place to vaccinate half a million people each week, if there is sufficient vaccine to do so.

Dr. Dave A. Chokshi, the city’s health commissioner, said on Tuesday that they expected about 107,000 doses from the federal government this week, without specifying whether they were intended for first or second doses, and that they would learn next week’s allocation in the next two days. Dr. Chokshi said the city had to postpone some first dose vaccination appointments and that he thought more notice about incoming supply would make it easier for the city to complete inoculations.

On Tuesday White House officials planned to announce that the federal government’s weekly allocations of coronavirus vaccine will increase by about 1.5 million doses to around 10 million in total. The increase will come from a release of more Moderna vaccine, though people familiar with Moderna’s production said that the newly distributed doses do not reflect an immediate increase in the overall amount of vaccine the company will deliver to the federal government in the first three months of this year.

At the state level, New York officials said they were preparing a plan for vaccinating incarcerated people. Public health experts broadly agree that they are at particularly high risk for contracting and spreading the virus; at least 8,800 people living or working in New York’s prison system have tested positive since the start of the pandemic.

And because guards, lawyers, workers and people entering and leaving custody move between the facilities and the community at large, the public health implications of outbreaks behind bars extend far beyond the prison walls. Officials said last fall that an outbreak at Greene Correctional Facility near Albany was linked to cases at an assisted-living facility and an elementary school.


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