City focuses on ‘round-the-clock vaccine effort

Cyril Josh Barker | 1/14/2021, midnight
As New York City’s COVID-19 infection rate this week is over 8%, the city is putting its efforts towards 24/7 ...
COVID-19 vaccine being administered at Northwell Health Scott Heins/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

As New York City’s COVID-19 infection rate this week is over 8%, the city is putting its efforts towards 24/7 vaccine sites that are opening across the city.

New Yorkers 75 or older and frontline essential workers such as teachers and education workers, childcare staff, first responders, public safety workers, public transit workers and other frontline essential workers are now eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine. The city administered 26,528 doses on Monday with a goal of 175,000 by the end of the week and 1 million vaccinated by the end of the month.

“We’re going to keep building every week from this point forward, it’s going to grow and grow, and it’s going to do so much good for New Yorkers and for ending this crisis,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said this week. “Now, the freedom to vaccinate is what allowed us to do this, and we’re now going to take full, full advantage of that freedom and reach New Yorkers in every part of the five boroughs.”

An additional 24/7 mega site also launched on Tuesday at 125 Worth Street in Manhattan, adding to the two sites that are currently operational in the Bronx and Brooklyn. A site in Staten Island at the Vanderbilt Gotham Health Center will launch Friday, followed by a site at the DOHMH clinic in Corona, Queens on Saturday.

Citi Field in Queens will become a 24/7 mega vaccination site. Operated by the NYC Health + Hospitals Test & Trace Corps, the site is slated to launch the week of Jan. 25. The Citi Field site will eventually scale up to be able to vaccinate approximately 5,000-7,000 eligible New Yorkers per day.

“The vaccination location at Citi Field adds to our growing network of vaccine access points citywide, making it even easier for eligible New Yorkers to access the safe, free COVID-19 vaccine,” said Deputy Mayor Melanie Hartzog. “With more and more New Yorkers determined eligible by the state to be vaccinated all the time, we’re focused on continuing to ramp up our capacity for vaccination to meet demand.”

Meanwhile, COVID-19 infection rates in prisons are on the rise. The New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision reported that an incarcerated person at Coxsackie Correctional Facility recently died from COVID-19. The person is the 10th incarcerated New Yorker in the state’s prison system to die of COVID-19 in the last month and the 28th person since the start of the pandemic.

DOCCS data also shows that since Dec. 1, 1,993 incarcerated people have tested positive for COVID-19—more than in the previous nine months of the pandemic combined.

There are currently outbreaks of the virus at Attica, Coxsackie, Bedford Hills, Bare Hill, Clinton, Woodbourne, Groveland, Cayuga and Walsh Correctional Facilities.

In response, the Release Aging People in Prison Campaign, Parole Preparation Project, Center for Community Alternatives, the #HALTsolitary Campaign and FWD.us said in a joint statement that lawmakers need to do more to protect inmates.

“Every passing day without action by lawmakers means more than 35,000 incarcerated New Yorkers are at serious risk of death from COVID-19,” the groups said. “Because the Cuomo administration has failed to stop the spread of COVID-19 behind bars and the rising death toll, state lawmakers must act quickly to save lives by passing COVID-related reforms, including Elder Parole, Fair and Timely Parole, and the HALT Solitary Confinement Act.”