The number of people vaccinated in New York state climbed significantly this past week following public outcry of a slow rollout and an order from Gov. Andrew Cuomo to "use it or lose it."
The governor of New York says more than half a million doses of the coronavirus vaccine have been distributed across the state as of this weekend. During a Saturday morning press call, Cuomo said the state had administered 259,000 doses of the vaccine this week, making it the first week since the start of the vaccine rollout that the number of doses given out surpassed 200,000.
This week's distribution could be on pace to meet the 300,000 doses the state is said to be provided each week.
In total, the governor said 543,147 doses of the vaccine had been given out since the state administered the first dose of the vaccine to a nurse in Queens.
The news of an increased rollout comes as officials open vaccine hubs to expand access. Two 24/7 centers in New York City open for a limited window Sunday (1-6 p.m.) before starting their 24-hour operations Monday at 10 a.m. Eligible recipients with appointments times can visit the Brooklyn Army Terminal or Bathgate Contract Postal Station for around-the-clock vaccination.
The three other boroughs will get their own 24/7 sites in the coming weeks, the city confirmed Friday. The third hub will open in Queens at the Queens Theater the week of Jan. 19; the fourth on Staten Island at Empire Outlets the week after; the fifth in Manhattan at La Marqueta in the first week of February.
Also opening Sunday: the first vaccine hubs -- in Brooklyn (Bushwick Educational Campus), Queens (Hillcrest High School) and the Bronx (South Bronx Educational Campus). Those will be open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and require advance appointment scheduling on the city's Department of Health website.
The three new hubs and two 24-hour centers add to the city's library of some 125 sites already providing the vaccine to qualified New Yorkers. The majority of those 125 sites are hospitals, clinics and federally qualified health centers and urgent care.
Opening up new hubs comes as the state expands its eligibility criteria for those allowed to receive their first shots. Beginning Monday, the state welcomes people in group 1B (teachers, police and firefighters, public transit and safety workers, and people over 75) to schedule appointments.
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Cuomo said on Friday that new eligibility group accounts for some 3.2 million New Yorkers. To meet this new demand, thousands of new providers will come online to assist hospitals in distribution efforts. Pharmacies, doctor's offices and local health departments will be among the many new networks welcomed into the distribution plan.
Cuomo expects some 500 pharmacies ready to inoculate eligible New Yorkers by next week. Hospitals across the state, he added, must continue to prioritize healthcare workers in their distribution of the vaccine.
Looking beyond the now eligible groups of 1A and 1B, Cuomo says the state is 47 weeks away from vaccinating the minimum number of New Yorkers needed to reach herd immunity, considered 70 percent. That's based on weekly shipments of 300,000 doses.