New York City announced on Feb. 20 that it has fewer than 1,000 first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine on-hand due to delayed shipments caused by the extreme winter weather across the country.
“Delayed shipments have put our entire vaccination effort at a standstill,” Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Spokesperson Avery Cohen stated on Twitter.
“Other sites are operating if the supply is there. The supply issues have limited our ability to post new appointments,” the city’s Health Department Press Secretary Patrick Gallahue said, adding that thousands of appointments might not be scheduled.
The White House on Feb. 19 estimated that the weather has slowed down shipping hubs, creating a backlog of 6 million doses and affecting all 50 states.
New York City, which gets its vaccine supplies from the state, still has around 110,00 second doses of the vaccine, which the mayor had urged to be used as first doses earlier this month. However, state and federal officials denied his proposal, citing that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did not recommend using second doses as first doses.
According to data from the city’s website, 92% of the first doses have been administered, at over 2 million. Meanwhile, over 1.3 million of the second doses have been administered.
New York City also announced that six new vaccination sites run by the state and the Federal Emergency Management Agency are set to open in the coming days and weeks.
Two new sites are set to open on Feb. 24 at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn and York College in Queens. Meanwhile, the four other sites are set to open in Buffalo, Rochester, Yonkers, and Albany on March 3.
According to de Blasio, 3,065 new cases have been reported in the city on Feb. 21.