As the COVID-19 vaccine makes its way to New York City, a vaccine command center will open Monday to facilitate citywide vaccination, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Friday.
“We are going to do a big, fast, distribution of this vaccine,” the mayor said in his briefing.
The command center will serve as a hub for all things vaccine-related. It will manage and monitor distribution in real-time, from delivery efforts to troubleshooting.
The command center will also work to ensure fairness in vaccinations, transparency with the public and address the issue of vaccine mistrust.
“We know there is a trust gap. We know a lot of people are uncertain about the vaccine,” said the mayor.
Described as the "air traffic control" for the vaccine, the command center will encompass all parts of city government, working with agencies like the department of education, NYCHA and social services, in addition to Health + Hospitals and the health department.
The city is also tapping its task force on racial inclusion and equality to ensure there is equity in vaccinations.
The coronavirus pandemic has ravaged Black and brown communities, bringing further to light the decades of disparities that exist in the city.
The task force is working with 200 community organizations to build trust and keep residents informed. It will host vaccination events at houses of worship, community centers and other locations.
There will be virtual community meetings and webinars. The task force will also host H+H clinics at NYCHA locations.
“We don’t expect them to come to us. Instead, we will meet New Yorkers where they live,” said Torian Easterling, first deputy commissioner and chief equity officer for the department of health.
The mayor delivered the news that all city coronavirus indicators have surpassed their safety thresholds.
The daily number of hospital admissions for COVID-19 is 205, above the threshold of 200.
The number of new cases on a seven-day rolling average is 2,559. The seven-day average is 5.35%, which is above the city’s threshold of 5%.
“This is a sign of how deep this crisis is right now,” de Blasio said.
While city indicators serve to inform on the severity of the pandemic in the city, it is ultimately up to the state what to do when these numbers tip.