De Blasio says New York City to hit 1 million vaccinations by end of January

De Blasio says New York City to hit 1 million vaccinations by end of January
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New York City Mayor Bill de BlasioBill de Blasio43 percent of NYPD employees vaccinated: report The Hill's Morning Report - Infrastructure vote fails; partisan feud erupts over Jan. 6 panel Israeli politician calls on Ben & Jerry's to 'rethink' ban MORE (D) said he hopes to have a million people in the city vaccinated by the end of next month in an ambitious plan to reduce the coronavirus’s risk in the nation’s biggest city.

“We’ve set a goal for the month of January, we’re going to vaccinate a million New Yorkers in the month of January. We’re going to need the help of the federal government, the state government, the manufacturers of the vaccine, we need everyone to pull together. But we know New York City can vaccinate a million people in the month of January and really put this thing into high gear,” de Blasio said Thursday on CNN. 

“And every single time we vaccinate someone, we are one step closer to making the coronavirus a thing of the past in terms of the horrible grip it has had on our society.”

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De Blasio insisted that the city would need help from the federal government, including asking the White House to employ the Defense Production Act to force businesses to develop supplies necessary for the vaccines, and said he would deploy a sprawling effort to get the vaccinations into New Yorkers’ arms.

“We’re going to do a call to arms here. We’re going to say to every part of the health care world, we need you. Local community clinics, we’re going to put up pop-up sites, we’re going to use our schools. You name it, whatever it takes to reach a million people, we’re ready to go,” he said.

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“There has to be a clear devotion to maximizing supply using Defense Production Act and every other tool to maximize the supply of the vaccine and to get it where it can be used,” he added. “If the manufacturers and the federal government get us the vaccine, we can deliver it.” 

Should the goal be achieved, it would mark a big first step in beating back the coronavirus in a city that was ravaged by the pandemic earlier this year.

New York City had one of the worst outbreaks in the country in April and May but was able to flatten its curve later in the year with the help of stringent restrictions. However, cases there are on the rise again as infections spike across the country.

De Blasio’s goal is particularly ambitious given that New York City has received just 390,425 vaccine doses and has so far administered only 78,530 doses, according to city data.

“New York City is going to show that we can jumpstart this and vaccinate people at a record pace, and we want to see the whole country be a part of this, because need to go faster to fight back the coronavirus if we want to recover,” the mayor said.

The lofty goal comes as Washington’s federal rollout of the vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna comes under scrutiny for failing to meet its goal of vaccinating 20 million people by the end of 2020. 

According to figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last updated Wednesday morning, about 2.8 million people have received the first dose from either of the vaccines. Those figures are likely lower than the actual numbers of vaccines that have been distributed and administered due to reporting delays, but they still indicate that the government will not be close to reaching its end-of-the-year goal with just one day left in 2020.