Despite the herculean work of scientists, doctors, front line workers, and logistics providers to get a Covid-19 vaccine developed, approved, scaled, and distributed in under a year, the vaccine rollout hasn’t been smooth. New York City is not doing better than the nation as a whole with only 88,000 people vaccinated from when the vaccine first become available on December 14th till the end of 2020. Knowing that this rate is utterly unacceptable, NYC has set the goal of administering 1 million Covid-19 vaccine doses by the end of January.
With the Vaccine Command Center helping to manage, triage, and coordinate the effort, NYC aims to double its weekly capacity for vaccination, from hospitals, to community health care centers, to urgent care clinics through a three-pronged plan:
- Covid-19 Vaccine Hubs will be launched across NYC in January, where New Yorkers in neighborhoods across the city will ultimately be able to go to access a vaccine.
- NYC Health + Hospitals Covid-19 testing sites will also serve as vaccination centers
- NYC is also calling on local organizations to scale up their capacity to administer vaccines quicker.
Specifically, NYC plans to have 250 sites administering 300,000 vaccines a week by the end of January. Publicly run vaccine hubs will be established at school gyms and other locations starting in the middle of the month, doing 45,000 shots a week. Existing testing sites that will begin offering the vaccine, should add another 4,000 a week.
Naturally, the city wants/needs assistance from both the Federal and State governments as well as private partners:
- Receiving more concrete and comprehensive guidance in advance so that NYC can expand the number of eligible New Yorkers
- Ensuring the supply of the vaccine remains consistent, allowing the City to expand its reach to vaccinate more New Yorkers
- Private partners: pick up pace of getting shots into arms and increase ability to offer more vaccines to more New Yorkers every day and every week
At the height of the pandemic agencies such as Economic Development Corporation (EDC), The Department of Small Business Services (SBS), Department of Transportation (DOT) and others expanded on and built relationships with the private sector to keep NYC supplied, fed, and running. This network should reconvene to ramp up vaccinations. Perhaps the health commissioner can serve as Czar (though it may be better for EDC to take the lead). Regardless, private-public partnerships exist and can greatly help reach the vaccine goals, but to do this best, the mayor and city council will need to take a backseat.