A delay in COVID-19 vaccine shipments due to winter storms is preventing New York City from releasing thousands of available appointments, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday. The mayor said the city will “have to hold back” about 30,000 to 35,000 appointments that would have otherwise been opened up for scheduling because “the vaccine has not arrived.”
“It’s obviously a national problem what’s happening with the weather, it’s gumming up supply lines all over the country,” de Blasio said, after noting that while he wasn’t sure where the vaccines were stuck, New York is also expected to experience a winter storm in the coming days. “What I do know, is our vaccine shipments are being delayed which is really frustrating” for the thousands waiting for appointments.
De Blasio, who has set a goal to fully vaccinate 5 million New Yorkers by June, said storms aside the city is “going to need a hell of a lot more support” to hit that milestone. He called for the federal government to begin providing the vaccine allocation directly to the city, as opposed to requiring approval from the state which is “slowing things down in many ways.”
“We need direct supply no strings attached,” he said, adding that the city also vaccinates workers from the suburbs or neighboring states. “Our allocation should be bigger to account for that.”
He also during the press conference noted an overhaul to the city’s vaccination website which had been criticized for complexity during the initial rollout.
The latest data provided by the city said over 1.3 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine had been administered. According to its data, the city has received over 1.7 million doses so far. The city has also tallied over 675,000 cases of COVID-19 and 28,428 deaths.