Jan. 8, 2021 By Allie Griffin
The city plans to open a COVID-19 vaccination site for frontline workers in South Ozone Park Monday — despite the fact that the state has not approved frontline workers to be vaccinated yet.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city will be ready to open vaccination sites prioritized for frontline workers in each of the five boroughs, including a site at John Adams High School in South Ozone Park.
The mayor made the announcement following a bitter back-and-forth between himself and Governor Andrew Cuomo on the coronavirus vaccination roll-out.
Currently, the state only allows municipalities to vaccinate people who fall under Phase 1A of the state’s COVID-19 vaccination distribution plan — namely health care workers and congregate care facility residents and staff. People in these groups can make appointments to be vaccinated — including at four Queens schools — online.
De Blasio wants the state to allow New York City to begin vaccinating people in Phase 1B, which includes people 75 and older, school staff, first responders, public safety workers and public transit employees.
He said the city will be ready to open the five vaccination sites geared towards city workers on Monday, in anticipation of the state’s approval.
“We want to prepare for all of the folks who should be vaccinated — the seniors over 75, the essential workers, the first responders,” de Blasio said during a press briefing. “Even though we’re not allowed by state law yet, we want to be ready.”
The sites, including John Adams High School, will be prioritized for frontline essential workers, daycare workers, firefighters, police officers and corrections officers, he added.
De Blasio said he hopes the state will approve the groups for the COVID-19 vaccine by Monday.
Meanwhile, Gov. Cuomo has said he wants all health care workers who want the coronavirus shot to be vaccinated before moving onto Phase 1B.
His office said New York City hasn’t vaccinated enough of its hospital workers to move onto the next round of eligibility.
“The City of New York has 917,000 eligible healthcare workers in 1A and has only administered 144,000 vaccines,” Cuomo’s Communications Director Peter Ajemian said in a statement. “Many more healthcare workers are anxiously awaiting the vaccine.”
The city has administered less than 50 percent of its vaccine doses, he added.
De Blasio and city health officials said that they have a surplus of vaccine doses since some health care workers have rejected the shot. They said the refusal rate is around 30 percent.
Yesterday, Dr. Mitch Katz, the president and CEO of the city’s public hospital system, NYC Health + Hospitals, said he has thousands of appointments available for COVID-19 vaccinations with few health care workers booking them.