NEW YORK — New York City will set up 250 city-run COVID-19 vaccination sites this month and expand the hours that vaccines will be provided in a push to administer 1 million vaccine doses by Jan. 31, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday.
Just over 100,000 people have been vaccinated in the city since inoculations began Dec. 14, but de Blasio said immunizations will speed up now that people see that the two vaccines that have been approved for emergency use in the U.S. are safe.
"Getting it right in the first few weeks was the trendsetter. And that's the thing that was going to give confidence. Now it's time to sprint," the Democratic mayor said. He added, "So the groundwork is laid, now it's time to put this into action on a 24/7 basis."
Vaccination sites will be set up at locations including three public schools, de Blasio said. Current state guidelines allow health care workers and nursing home residents and staffers to receive the vaccines, but de Blasio said he is pushing for the shots to be available to essential workers including police officers, firefighters and teachers.
"We need to start moving into as many categories as possible in the next few weeks," he said.
When he first announced his million-vaccination goal last week, de Blasio said 1 million people would be vaccinated in January. Reaching that target would require 2 million doses, since both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses a few weeks apart to be fully effective.
Asked to clarify Monday, de Blasio said the goal was 1 million doses, not 1 million people vaccinated.
"One million doses, but remember, depending on when people get their first dose there's a waiting period you have to go through before the time you can get your second dose," de Blasio said. "So it's not a choice of is it 1 million people or is it half-a-million people. It'll be something in between in terms of people number but in terms of doses it will be 1 million doses."