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New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city is rescheduling 23,000 vaccine appointments because of a supply shortage.
The mayor cited shipments fromModerna Inc., saying the drug manufacturer’s distributor reported a delay of 103,000 doses that New York City expected to receive yesterday. Instead, the shipment will arrive in the next couple of days. Moderna’s press office didn’t immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.
Health Commissioner Dave Chokshi said he was informed about the delays in Moderna shipments by the city’s partners at the federal government, and that the bottleneck was unrelated to side effects or vaccine performance. “This is purely a shipment issue, a logistical issue,” Chokshi said Wednesday at a virus briefing. “We anticipate that the vaccines are intact and we will get them in the course of delivery today and tomorrow.”
About half of the delayed supply was intended to be given as second doses. The rescheduled appointments, though, are for people getting their first doses, who will be offered new appointments in the next week, Chokshi said.
McKesson Corp., which distributes Moderna vaccines,said on Wednesday that it held back some shipments this week to certain states due to an issue with vaccines arriving at sites colder than the manufacturer’s stated temperature range. The company says it has fixed the problem. It wasn’t immediately clear whether New York was among those affected by that issue.
New York still plans to hit its goal of 1 million vaccinations by the end of the month. “We can do it if we get the vaccine,” de Blasio said.
De Blasio called upon the Biden administration in Washington to lift restrictions on using second doses and expanding the supply “in a huge way.”
New York’s warnings about dwindling supplies contrast with its data that show about half of the city’s stock remains unused. New York has administered 494,596 out of 940,825 doses delivered as of Jan. 20, according to its immunization registry. The city says it is administering 30,000 to 40,000 shots a day.
The city’s health commissioner tried to break down the discrepancy on Wednesday. Chokshi said 109,400 doses have been set aside for nursing homes, which are counted in New York City’s tally of delivered doses but administered by the federal government. Another 192,292 doses are sitting in New York City’s stockpile because the city is holding them back for second vaccinations.
That still leaves around 144,537 doses, which the health department said has been delivered to hospitals, community clinics, pharmacies and urgent care centers to give out in the next couple of days.
“We are going to very rapidly go through that supply,” Chokshi said.
Meanwhile, hospitalizations continue to rise in New York City despite dropping case numbers. The seven-day average of the rate of hospitalizations 5.08 per 100,000 residents, up from 4.28 at the beginning of January. The seven-day average of positive test results stood at 8.53%, down from 9.49% on Jan. 5.
— With assistance by Robert Langreth, and Angelica LaVito
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