City to temporarily close COVID-19 vaccine hubs due to supply shortages

Workers of the FDNY EMS receive COVID-19 Moderna vaccine in New York
An emergency worker receives the COVID-19 vaccine.
REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

A delay in the Moderna vaccine shipment will force the city’s 15 vaccination hubs to close for four days starting on Thursday, Jan. 21, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Wednesday.

The roughly 23,000 appointments scheduled from Thursday through Sunday, Jan. 24 will be moved to exactly one week from their original time. Residents will not be able to make new appointments at the centers until the vaccine supply is stable, one lawmaker said.

The Moderna shipment, which contained 104,000 doses, was supposed to arrive on Tuesday, but won’t arrive until Wednesday or Thursday because of a holdup from Moderna’s distributor, Hizzoner explained. 

“We already were feeling the stress of a shortage of vaccine,” de Blasio said in his Wednesday press conference. “Now, the situation has been made even worse.”

The slowdown comes just as the city was speeding its vaccination effort. Nearly half a million New Yorkers have received their first dose of either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, and nearly 40,000 vaccine doses were administered over the last 24 hours.

De Blasio has set a goal of administering one million doses by the end of the month, and has called on the federal government to make good on President Joe Biden’s pledge to release federal vaccine reserves currently being held for booster shots.

Both of the FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer have about a 95 percent efficacy rate in protecting recipients from contracting the virus. But both vaccines require that patients receive two shots three to four weeks apart in order to be inoculated. Still, one dose provides some benefits, Hizzoner explained. 

“Even the first dose provides around 50 percent of protection from the coronavirus,” said de Blasio. “If you are a senior citizen, if you are someone who is vulnerable, even that first dose means a whole lot to you.”

This story first appeared on AMNY.com.