NYC to Run Out of Vaccines Next Week Without Major Resupply

New York City, whose Covid-19 vaccine distribution system has been taxed by overwhelming demand, will run out of shots next week without a resupply mission, Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

“At this rate, there will not be any doses available in New York,” de Blasio said in an interview with WNYC. “If we don’t get a serious supply, we’re going to have to freeze the appointment system. That would be insane, after all the progress we’ve made.”

Hospitals across the city have canceled or stopped scheduling appointments for people to get the Covid-19 vaccine. New York state’s website says appointments remain available at sites including the Javits Center, but error messages pop up when trying to schedule a shot.

On Thursday,NYU Langone Health alerted physicians that it hadn’t been allocated doses for next week and couldn’t continue its vaccination program without them, according to anemail reviewed by Bloomberg News and confirmed by the hospital. The system said it has given about 30,000 shots to date but said it hadn’t gotten commitments from the state or city for new supplies.

Mount Sinai Medical Hospital said Thursday it was forced to cancel existing public vaccination appointments from Friday through Tuesday “due to sudden changes in vaccine supply, according to a statement to NBC.

While De Blasio didn’t outline the reasons why New York was running low, the city relies on allocations the federal government gives to New York state to maintain its supply. The state will receive 50,000 fewer doses next week than it did the week before, despite increasing the number of people eligible, Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Friday.

Cuomo said reduced federal supply has slowed distribution. Most distributors are booking appointments 14 weeks in advance, he said.

The federal government recently called on states to open eligibility to those 65 and older, but failed to increase allocations using reserve supplies as promised, Cuomo said.

“They had already sent out everything they had, so there was no increase in supply and in the meantime there was a dramatic increase in the eligibility,” he said.

The Trump administration has exhausted its reserves and is distributing freshly manufactured doses as soon as they come off the line, The Washington Post reported Friday.

New York City has administered only 42% of the 800,500 doses that it has in its arsenal, according to city data. But the city has been accelerating the shots, administering 125,000 this week. De Blasio said the city has been getting only about 100,000 doses a week in resupply.

“People are showing up nonstop,” de Blasio said. “There are few places that can move the vaccine as quickly as we can. We should get the supply commensurate with our ability to give out vaccine.”

When checking the New York City hospital system’s appointment website, a notice says none are available.

The public hospital system hasn’t canceled appointments or stopped taking them, said spokesman Christopher Miller. When times become available within the next two weeks they will be posted, and each day, there will be new appointments offered two weeks in advance, he said.

“As of now we’re OK,” Miller said.”Tomorrow may be different.”

It was a similar situation at the privateNorthwell Health, where websites to make appointments displayed error messages or zero appointments. A spokesman said the system hasn’t canceled appointments because it books them only if it has the shots on hand.

“As more supply comes in, the more appointments will open to book,” said spokesman Joe Kemp. “We are managing best we can with a very limited supply.”

— With assistance by John Tozzi

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