De Blasio: It’ll be June before every New Yorker who wants COVID shot gets one

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It will take until at least June to get every New Yorker who wants a COVID-19 inoculation a shot, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday.

“I think a healthy way to think about this is between now and June – just to give you an initial sense – we would like to reach the maximum number of New Yorkers,” de Blasio said during a press briefing.

The mayor acknowledged a real challenge will be persuading a segment of the population that will resist taking the vaccination, but hopes they will come around over time. 

“Now, let’s be honest. We know that some New Yorkers, no matter what we say to them, will not choose to take the vaccine, but I do believe that number is going to be small,” de Blasio said. “I think the more people see it working, the more they see family and friends take it, and they see the positive impact on bringing down COVID – I think more and more people will want to.”

The mayor brushed off concerns that the rollout is too slow, saying it was more important to “get it right.”

“I think June is a good working assumption right this moment. That could obviously change as we go along. If we could do it faster, we would love to,” he said.

“This is just the beginning of something that’s going to be huge and the first few days — everyone’s being methodical and careful to get it right, to really make sure they really understand exactly how to handle this vaccine, which is unusual. It’s different. We haven’t had one like this before. But I think it’s going to just be a steady, steady uptick.

“When we really build out, we’re going to be all over the city simultaneously,” the mayor added. “This is just the natural steps it takes to get started.”

In the first three days, 5,200 doses were put into the arms of healthcare workers in New York City: 73 on Monday, 1,562 Tuesday and 3,565 Wednesday.

Health Commissioner Dr. David Chokshi said “everything is going smoothly” with the beginning of the momentous vaccination rollout. But he described the protocols to administer the vaccine as “complicated,” requiring ultra-cold storage and some special steps in handling.

“I expect the pace of vaccination will start to tick up in the coming days,” he said.

Dr. Mitch Katz, who heads the city’s Health & Hospitals agency, said doctors also want to be careful to avoid wasting any of the vaccine.

“It’s because they’re in multidose vials that can only be out of the freezer for short periods of time that especially at the beginning we have to be super careful,” said Katz.

Katz said that all of the city’s public hospital staff would be vaccinated in the next three weeks.

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