Mayor Bill de Blasio committed to administering 1 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in New York City by the end of January.
"We've set a goal for the month of January—we're going to vaccinate 1 million New Yorkers in the month of January," de Blasio said on CNN Thursday morning. "We're gonna need the help of the federal government, the state government, the manufacturers of the vaccine."
The commitment comes as New York—and the entire country—lags on administering doses more quickly.
In NYC, 88,410 people have received the first dose of the two-shot vaccine as of Thursday, out of the 347,525 doses delivered to the city so far.
As of Wednesday, 203,000 people have gotten their first dose statewide out of 682,425 doses distributed, according to data compiled by Bloomberg News. That's about 29.7% in the state and 20.1% in the city of shots that have been used. California and Texas have administered 20.4% and 21.8%.
"We're going to do a call to arms here," de Blasio said. Community clinics, pop-up sites, schools are among the places where vaccines will be administered. It's not clear if that would begin immediately come January.
De Blasio said the federal government needs to maximize supplies of the vaccine and send it to places it can be used more quickly.
"We have the capacity to make it happen right down to the grassroots," de Blasio added.
Epidemiologist Dr. Stephen Morse at Columbia University told Gothamist this week, "The federal government should have provided more resources to the states and better national coordination. [They] asked states to provide their rollout plans, and gave some feedback, but most of the real work has to be at state and local levels. State plans ... varied greatly in length and comprehensiveness. Time and resources for rollout were limited, and, often for reasons beyond anyone’s control, vaccine availability was a moving target."
To reach 1 million doses, New York City will double its current vaccine administration capacity from 150,000 a week to 300,000 a week.
The city plans to add this capacity with 100,000 a week from community vaccination partners working with community-based organizations, about 45,000 a week from the city's to-be-opened vaccine hubs, and another 4,000 a week at two Test and Trace sites, according to Deputy Mayor of Health and Human Service Melanie Hartzog.
"That's how we get to that overall doubling of capacity," Hartzog said during a briefing on Thursday. The goal is to double access points and expand to 250 locations at community clinics and pop-up sites around the city.
But currently, NYC does not have the allocated supplies to vaccinate 1 million people. According to city data, 430,125 doses of the vaccine have been allocated by the feds for NYC.
"We have amazing capacity in this city," de Blasio said. "We have the tools. We simply need the right authorizations, and we need the supply of vaccines, and we can make it work."
Initial estimates were that the city would have doses for more than 450,000 people available.
The current priority—"phase 1a"—remains health care workers and nursing home residents and staff, which amounts to about 1 million people in NYC.
"We want everyone in that category who is eligible to get vaccinated to actually have the ability to get vaccinated," NYC Health Commissioner Dave Chokshi said. The city wants to get the vaccine to other kinds of health care workers outside of hospitals, like home health aides, which requires amping up access points, according to the commissioner.
"For us to move quickly, as is our intent, we have to be able to expand the circle of eligibility swiftly as well so that we can match up the capacity that we have with that eligibility," Chokshi said.
The state will have eligibility screening requirements the city will follow, the commissioner added.
The mayor also confirmed Thursday morning the highly transmissible UK virus variant has not been found in NYC. Governor Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday it hadn't been detected in the state either, though he believes it is likely here.
Additional reporting by Jen Carlson