The new COVID-19 variant is mounting pressure on the city to ramp up already lagging vaccination efforts.
“We estimate that it will take about six weeks for the new more contagious variant to overspread the old one,” said Scott Braithwate, professor of population health and medicine at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine.
Braithwaite told NY1 the city will have to vaccinate nearly half its population in that timeframe to avoid another wave of the virus.
“We’ve got to get about 40% to 50% of people vaccinated in the next six weeks — that’s our challenge,” he said.
New York City is already behind schedule in meeting its original goal of vaccinating one million people by the end of January.
Many have challenged the city for not being prepared to more seamlessly roll out the vaccine, being that its arrival has been anticipated. But Braithwaite said it’s easy to point fingers and gave praise for how far vaccine efforts as a whole have come.
He believes the city can take on the task of vaccinating 40% to 50% of residents over the next six weeks, saying “where there’s a will, there’s a way.”
“I think that if there is a sufficient commitment of effort and resources, it’s doable,” he said.
As an example, Braithwaite pointed to Israel vaccinating 5% of its population every week.