Everyone 75 and over is now eligible to start receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, Mayor Bill de Blasio said at his daily press briefing on Monday.
The state approval of this expanded eligibility comes after days of back and forth between Mayor de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office over when to allow more people to receive the vaccine. On Friday, Gov. Cuomo announced that everyone in category “1B,” which includes people 75 years old and above, as well as education workers, first responders, and transit workers would be eligible.
“We are starting a really important week in this city,” said Mayor de Blasio. “We fought hard for the freedom to vaccinate. Now we have it starting today… We’ve gotten the freedom, now we have work to do.”
The mayor also announced a phone reservation system to make vaccination appointments, which will be available from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. He said the phone lines will eventually expand to be available 24/7.
What the city is calling “mega vaccination” sites, which are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, are now open in all five boroughs as well. This week, they’ll be opening three more of these sites in Lower Manhattan, Staten Island and Queens with a second location in Staten Island the following week.
According to the mayor, appointments at these 24/7 sites are fully booked between the hours of 12 a.m. and 4 a.m. Tuesday morning.
Last week, the city administered 101,799 doses of the vaccine and this week the goal is to reach 175,000, he said. City officials are still aiming to reach their goal of one million doses by the end of January.
The city’s growing vaccination campaign comes as hospital admissions of suspected COVID-19 patients per 100,000 people in the state reached 4.62%. The number of positive cases in the city reached 4,904 on Monday with the average reaching 8.18% over a seven-day period.