NEW YORK — As New York City begins to pick up the pace on vaccinating more New Yorkers, Mayor de Blasio warns he may run out of COVID-19 vaccines.
"At the rate we're going, we'll be out in two weeks or so," de Blasio said in his weekly "Mondays with the Mayor" interview with Inside City Hall anchor Errol Louis.
Both de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo have continued to push for a larger supply of vaccines — which is expected to be critical as eligibility for the coronavirus vaccine in New York expanded Monday to everyone over the age of 75, as well as education workers, first responders, and transit workers. All health care workers in the state are also eligible to get the vaccine.
The city is also expanding the hours for vaccination hubs in a move to get more people inoculated. 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, the city will open three more of these sites in Lower Manhattan, Staten Island, and Queens, with a second location on Staten Island the following week.
City officials are aiming to reach their goal of one million doses by the end of January, but Cuomo warned last week it could take weeks for someone to get an appointment in New York.
When asked if there will still be a vaccine shortage in the city when President-elect Joe Biden takes office and is expected to release more doses, de Blasio did not directly answer the question. Instead, he said he had confidence Biden would be aggressive in releasing vaccines.
To further boost the vaccination rate, as many New Yorkers in surveys have expressed hesitation to getting the shot, some have suggested mandating vaccinations. De Blasio, however, tells NY1 he doesn't currently want to take such a step for city workers.
"We'll see if things change down the line. But right now what I can tell you is, voluntary is the right approach. A lot of people obviously do want this vaccine. For those who are hesitant, I think the vast majority aren't going to be hesitant for long. I think they want to see other people take it, make sure it's ok, they want to feel a little more confidence," the mayor said. "I think, ultimately, you can get a few more months into this thing and the vast, vast majority will want the vaccine. I would much rather do this on a voluntary basis so people feel confidence in what they're doing."
This story includes reporting from Anna Lucente Sterling.
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