Some 18,000 precious doses of the coronavirus vaccine have been reallocated from the nursing home inoculation effort to the general supply for city residents, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Thursday — as more than a dozen vaccination sites reopened around the boroughs.
As federal supply-chain issues have throttled the availability of the shots across New York, leaders have sought to find jabs wherever they can — including seeking permission to free up doses originally earmarked for the federally-administered nursing home vaccination effort.
“Clearly, some of that vaccine wasn’t being used in the here and now,” said de Blasio during a Thursday press briefing. “Eighteen-thousand doses have now been freed up.”
Ravaged by the pandemic, nursing homes were given ample supplies of the shots when the rollout began.
But many staffers have declined to receive them, leaving their doses in limbo. Only 40 percent of staffers, and 65 percent of residents, in New York City long-term care facilities have been vaccinated against COVID-19.
Hizzoner also announced the reopening, effective Thursday, of 15 vaccination hubs across the five boroughs that had been forced to close last week due to a lack of available shots.
Some 23,000 appointments that were postponed last week due to a delay in shipping the Moderna vaccine are now set to take place there.
“Those have been incredibly effective, fast, efficient,” he said. “There’s going to be some additional hours that we can put in play as we get more supply. This is going to be one of the pieces that really helps us pump up this effort.”
On Thursday morning, Queens resident Linda Rodriguez, 69, was one of the first people in line at one of the reopened hubs located at Hillcrest High School in Jamaica.
“The city Department of Health called me Wednesday last week and they asked me to come in a week later. Same time, same day,” said Rodriguez, a retired Department of Education employee. “Then they emailed me, and last night they texted me a reminder!”