Vaccine Update: NYC Temporarily Closes Sites and Postpones Appointments Due to Shortage; Biden Authorizes Wartime Law

By Carol Tannenhauser

New York City has closed 15 vaccination sites through Sunday, and postponed, for exactly one week, 23,000 appointments scheduled for this Thursday and Friday, because of a shortage of vaccine, Mayor Bill de Blasio said, at a press conference.

Last week, Mount Sinai Hospital was forced to cancel several days of appointments for the same reason. It resumed administering the shots when supplies were replenished. The city is expecting its next shipment of vaccine in the middle of next week, according to nbcnewyork.

”States are provided with the coveted vaccines — made by both Pfizer and rival company Moderna — by the federal government weekly,” the New York Post explained. “State sources said they start arriving around Tuesday and trickle in through the week.”

Governor Andrew Cuomo attributed the shortages to the sudden expansion of the eligibility limits for the vaccine, as well as a 50,000-dose shortfall in federal allocations to New York State. There was also a two-day delay of a Moderna vaccine shipment, de Blasio added. “We already were feeling the stress of a shortage of vaccine. Now the situation [was] made even worse.”

The closures, cancellations, and reports of impending shortages are causing confusion and concern, especially among older people whose lives literally depend upon getting the vaccine.

“I’ve been trying via phone and computer to reach the various sites to make a vaccination appointment,” a woman wrote to the Rag. “I’m 86 years old and really need a vaccination. Please help.”

Her plea could be answered. “President Biden signed a blast of executive orders Thursday that expands the federal government’s role in fighting the coronavirus pandemic and authorizes broad usage of a wartime law to accelerate the pace of vaccinations in the U.S. amid shortages of shots across the country, including in New York,” the Daily News reported.

But, The New York Times noted, “Vaccine experts and the companies themselves have said that at least in the short term, using the Defense Production Act will not significantly increase supply, although every little bit could help. That’s because manufacturing facilities are already at or near capacity, and there is a worldwide race to develop vaccines that use a finite amount of resources.”

“What’s clear now is we’re going to be going from week to week,” Cuomo said. “You will see a constant pattern of basically running out, waiting for the next week’s allocation and then starting it up again. We’re trying to smooth it out, but we’re also trying to get it out as fast as possible.

”I want to stress one important point,” Cuomo added. “New Yorkers who have already received their first dose do not have to worry that they will not be able to get a second dose—we always ensure there are enough vaccine doses to complete the vaccination for those who got their first dose already.”

Thanks to Boris for bringing the last paragraph to our attention.

NEWS | 38 comments | permalink
    1. Boris says:

      Before people flip out over Dose 2, here’s what Cuomo said yesterday:

      “But I want to stress one important point: New Yorkers who have already received their first dose do not have to worry that they will not be able to get a second dose—we always ensure there are enough vaccine doses to complete the vaccination for those who got their first dose already.”

    2. rentssu says:

      One almost wonders if the expansion of those able to get the vaccine late in the T administration was a trap set for Biden’s. To other elderly like me, I want to say don’t fret. We are at least able to keep ourselves safe in a way that younger people who need to go to work, take kids to school, etc. etc. cannot.

      • JL says:

        It was a trap in the sense that T’s federal govt was MIA this second go around as much as February/March 2020. The denier in Chief was consumed with self interest both times. Both times his inactions caused 10’s of thousands of lives.

        History will tell if he’ll be remembered for inciting the insurrection, or the “Amazing/Incredible” numbers of COVID fatalities for a country with modern healthcare. Or, possibly being the first President to serve prison time.

        For a man who couldn’t get enough attention, he certainly accomplished what he set out to do. The worst ever. (word count 99)

        • Steve says:

          Well said, JL. History will remember him correctly in terms of his administration’s inability to control the pandemic. Numbers don’t lie. That being said, we tend to see the better side of people in our immediate memory, I believe. Maybe that’s healthier?

    3. Bernice says:

      New forms of covid are now infecting us. They will outrace the current vaccine. Cuomo and Biden need to double down on masks and distancing for at least three months and then possibly extend that. In the meantime, no one should have to choose between an electric bill and food.

      • Boris says:

        It’s irrelevant whether new forms of Covid exist unless they are more easily transmittable. If you’re pretending to be well-informed, then you would also know that the vaccine is just as effective attacking the new strains. Viruses mutate all the time; that doesn’t complicate the effectiveness of the vaccine.

      • Eric says:

        “New forms of covid are now infecting us. They will outrace the current vaccine.”

        The current vaccines are effective against new variants. Once you get your vaccination you will be protected against these strains to whatever degree the vaccine is effective. Until then continue to take the precautions you have been. Stay safe.

      • EdNY says:

        What exactly does “double down on masks and distancing” mean? Do you really think people who aren’t wearing masks and otherwise being careful are going to suddenly stop when all advice is to the contrary? Or that those who refuse are going to suddenly change?

        • cc says:

          Wear two masks.

        • fellow westsider says:

          ‘What exactly does “double down on masks and distancing” mean?’

          Double-mask, as already posted — and also maintain (even) greater physical (social) distance from others.

      • Claire says:

        Hear! Hear! I say we go one better, masks from now on…make it federal law punishable by hard time

    4. Rs says:

      Did anyone receive a first dose at goheath /north well 69 th street? Were you given an appointment for the second dose? I was not given an appointment, and have received conflicting information regarding this.

      • Walker says:

        I got my shot at the GoHealth @69th St. They said they will contact me when it is time for my 2nd shot. Whether that is 28 days after my 1st shot or in advance of that is yet to be seen. They also gave a number to call (which was posted outside their facility) to schedule a 2nd shot. When I called they said they don’t schedule 2nd shots from that number.

        FWIW they put in a claim to my insurance for $325 which my insurance did not pay.

        • Boris says:

          Please explain the significance of their submitting a claim to your insurance company. The vaccine is free but did you expect that GoHealth would administer it for free? Go Health is a private business and needs to be compensated.

          • Dan says:

            FWIW = for what it’s worth
            If you don’t find value in the comment then it isn’t worth much to you. Maybe someone else will find this information useful. Stop putting people down on the message boards for innocuous comments.

            • young_man! says:

              @Dan Maybe somebody who doesn’t want to potentially pay $325 out of pocket will find Boris’ comment useful.
              No reason to put Boris down just because the money doesn’t matter to you.

            • Dan says:

              No, they would’ve found Walker’s comment useful which warned about the $325 which I am defending

          • lynn says:

            I think the point is that not all health insurance companies are covering the vaccine. I asked about it when I was there for another issue, and my friend who uses Medicare was also not covered.

          • rs says:

            The obvious point is that charging $325 to give a shot is outrageous. No one’s health insurance is going to pay that.

            • SNY says:

              Once the Vaccine supplies become available again, try to schedule at Jacob Javits Center Vaccination Site!
              I received my first vaccine there last Sunday. I went online to schedule during OFF HOURS. It took a while to find an appointment slot. I guess I was very lucky. When arriving during the scheduled appointment, the process went incredibly smoothly. The place is larger than Grand Central Terminal…and perhaps a hundred staffers, including uniformed National Guard troops steered the people to the proper areas. NO PAYMENT of any kind was requested – and there was NO request for insurance information! Also, there was an area upon exiting Javits where they scheduled the 2nd Vaccination date and time. BTW, they had the Pfizer Vaccine.

        • Susan says:

          Wow! I got the shot there and was not given a second appointment. No
          Mention of a fee! Do we need to pay that? I am on medicare. That is outrageous.

          • Upperwestsider says:

            To Susan…
            The Covid-19 Vaccine is FREE.
            I hope you made a 2nd Vaccine appointment!
            Pfizer vaccine requires 3 weeks until the second required shot.
            Moderna vaccine requires 4 weeks until the second required shot.

      • LA says:

        I got my first dose from northwell on 1/11 as a healthcare worker. I received and email last night that said I will get an appointment for dose 2 via email.

    5. Danielle Remp says:

      I want to suggest that those who have relatively low exposure to covid not rush to make an appointment “just anywhere” — and *very cautiously* choose the venue where they will get vaccinated.

      My husband and I were vaccinated at what seemed like a superspreader hospital event yesterday. It took over an hour in line, in a non-ventilated, crowded hallway, to get our first shot. Moreover, in a not-consoling note, we were told that the line was so slow because some staff had called in sick!

      As I waited there, scared just to breathe, I kept wishing myself at an outdoor venue, or a familiar pharmacy. But all that I can do at this point is suggest it for you.

      Please, if you have kept yourself safe for this long, don’t desperately make a vaccination appointment without having vetted the venue. This was scary.
      And it may be one explanation why some don’t go back for their second shot!

      • fellow westsider says:

        Thank you for the suggestion. We are still waiting to schedule our first dose, so your post is a good reminder to remain patient as much as possible.

        Your experience yesterday indeed sounds like an ordeal. Hope that everything will work out well for you and your husband. Good luck.

        • Danielle Remp says:

          Let’s hope that we did not catch covid in the process of vaccination. My husband would not survive it.

          I can’t emphasize enough — please, please choose your venue carefully. If you have managed to keep yourself safe all this time, please continue to do so for just a little while longer — and *choose* your venue wisely.

          For almost eleven months, I had carefully avoided crowds such as found in these unventilated hospital hallways and their vaccination rooms that stuff together hundreds of vaccinees hour after hour.

          I hope that my experience can help others.

      • Josh says:

        Which hospital?

        • Marsha says:

          NY Presbyterian is giving the vaccine at the Armory at 168th and Fort Washington. If you are a patient at NYP or Weill Cornell, you are probably signed up on their Connect portal. If not a patient, you can still sign up – You have to sign up for the vaccine through the portal.

          • You cannot sign up on Weill Connect unless you are over 65 years old AND live in a designated zip code. This probably (should) change from time to time. I’m a WC patient and have not been able to schedule an appt. because I don’t live in the designated zip codes (but we are not told what those are).

      • Judy Smith says:

        May I ask which venue you used? Stay well!

      • JerryV says:

        Danielle, I got mine on Thursday at Mt. Sinai West. It was very crowded and took over 2 hours of standing on line. But it was well-organized and mask wearing was universal. It was crowded because they were doing their best to vaccinate as many people as possible (and I am normally not a great fan of Mt. Sinai). Where did you get your shot?

    6. Renee Baruch says:

      The Rag continues to fulfill an important public service providing very local news. We need it now more than ever. This piece is an example of providing critically important information just when readers need it most. Thank you.

    7. Virginia French says:

      If sites are closing, where do we go for our second vaccine? Will locations stay open and honor appointments for the second vaccine?

      • JerryV says:

        Virginia, It depends on whether they get their supply or not. A site generally gets a one week supply and can’t always guarantee that what is promised for the following week will actually arrive. This past week, for instance, for Mt. Sinai was especially crowded. They had failed to get delivery the previous week and had to cancel all of their appointments for that week. So, this past week they gave out shots not only for the current week but also for the previous week when they had been closed.

    8. Cheryl Strobolowski says:

      Hi. I received my first dose, but still have not been able to arrange a second via I keep hearing you don’t have to worry about getting your second shot, but I’m also hearing that you shouldn’t wait past one week post your 28 day waiting period. So I’m getting worried because when you try to make your appt, you get the message: no appts available at any of the sites listed. Also, whereas there were like 15 sites when I made my first appt, now there are only 3.

    9. Alphonsine Steppé says:

      This is a mess, chaotic and unfair. Very poorly organized. Why does Columbia University give it to 65-year old staff members who work from home, while 75-year olds and older who are not affiliated with that institution can’t get their first vaccine?