N.Y.C. Postpones Vaccine Appointments As Winter Storm Approaches
Vaccination sites in the New York subway area will close on Monday due to an impending winter storm that is expected to throw up to 16 inches of snow on the area.
On Sunday, warnings were issued for much of the eastern United States of winter storms that disrupted vaccinations in Washington, DC, Philadelphia, New Jersey and elsewhere.
At a press conference on Sunday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said he didn’t want older New Yorkers on their way to vaccinations and warned of blizzard-like conditions with gusty winds. The vaccinations scheduled for Tuesday in New York City have not been canceled for the time being, de Blasio said.
The storm will temporarily disrupt vaccine rollouts in New York City, which is plagued by inadequate supplies, faulty registration systems, and confusion over the state’s strict licensing policies. The vaccine is available to residents aged 65 and over, as well as a large number of workers classified as “essential”.
About 800,000 doses have been administered in the city so far, de Blasio said.
Vaccine appointments at multiple locations in the area – the Javits Center in Manhattan, the Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens, a transit point on Jones Beach on Long Island, SUNY Stony Brook, and the Westchester County Center – are postponed for this week, according to a statement by Melissa DeRosa, a top advisor to Governor Andrew Cuomo. “We are asking all New Yorkers to monitor the weather and stay out of the streets tomorrow so our crews and first responders can do their jobs safely,” she said.
In the Philadelphia area, urban testing and vaccination sites will be closed on Monday. Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, and parts of the DC, Maryland, and Virginia areas followed suit. A few areas outside the storm center were expected to remain open for vaccination, including parts of Massachusetts and New York state.
In Oregon, Tuesday, a storm resulted in a group of health officials hauling vaccines to offer to drivers stuck on the side of the road just before their expiration date.
The rollout in New York City was also hampered by distribution issues and severe racial differences, according to de Blasio, with residents of black and Latino receiving far fewer doses than residents of white.
The city’s demographics were incomplete, but the numbers so far have been remarkable: of the nearly 300,000 city residents who received a dose and whose race was recorded, about 48 percent were white, 15 percent Latin American, 15 percent Asian, and 11 percent black. Latino and Black residents were underrepresented: the city’s population is 29 percent Latinos and 24 percent black.
Attempts to provide more vaccination kits to underserved communities in Brooklyn and the Bronx, including churches and public housing areas, were also delayed this week as six pop-up locations in the two counties were moved to Wednesday. Ms. DeRosa said.