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‘Overdrive’: NYC mayor wants 1M vaccinations in January

December 31, 2020 GMT
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FILE - In this Dec. 21, 2020 file photo, Kelley Dixon, 78, is vaccinated against COVID-19 at his residence in The Hebrew Home in Riverdale. An ambitious goal of vaccinating 1 million New York City residents against COVID-19 in January was set Thursday by Mayor Bill de Blasio, who noted that meeting the target would require outside cooperation and the city dramatically increasing access. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)
1 of 6
FILE - In this Dec. 21, 2020 file photo, Kelley Dixon, 78, is vaccinated against COVID-19 at his residence in The Hebrew Home in Riverdale. An ambitious goal of vaccinating 1 million New York City residents against COVID-19 in January was set Thursday by Mayor Bill de Blasio, who noted that meeting the target would require outside cooperation and the city dramatically increasing access. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — An ambitious goal of vaccinating 1 million New York City residents against COVID-19 in January was set Thursday by Mayor Bill de Blasio, who noted that meeting the target would require outside cooperation and the city dramatically increasing access.

“We need to go into overdrive now,” the mayor said at his regular briefing. “We need every day to speed up and reach more and more people.”

The city has vaccinated 88,000 people since vaccines first became available Dec. 14, working at a pace that would leave the city far short of the goal for next month.

Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi said officials want to double citywide access points to at least 250 sites, including hospitals, community health centers and urgent care clinics. Deputy Mayor Melanie Hartzog said officials also plan to double the city’s 150,000-dose-a-week capacity over the course of January.

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Meeting the goal also would require help from the federal and state governments, as well as manufacturers, the mayor said. He called it a “team effort” also involving schools, other city agencies and communities.

De Blasio announced the goal amid criticism that the nation’s vaccine rollout has been too slow. Trump administration officials said this month they planned to have 20 million doses of the vaccine distributed by the end of the year.

But according to data provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, just over 11.4 million doses had been distributed this week, and only 2.1 million people have received their first dose.

De Blasio also said that March 14, a year after the first COVID-19-related death in New York, will be a day of remembrance for lives lost in the pandemic.

“We need to recognize 25,000 of our fellow New Yorkers gone,” he said.