In anticipation of the final federal approval of COVID vaccines for the youngest age group yet, New York City is putting its rollout plan in motion to get kids six months and older vaccinated.
Mayor Eric Adams announced the city would have 10 city-run vaccination hubs ready by June 22 in time for the CDC sign-off of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for children aged six-months to five years. Pfizer doses, also up for approval, will be offered at non-city sites.
Clinics across the city previously administering doses of the approved vaccine to children five years and older are prepared to help toddler and preschoolers get inoculated as early as next week.
One day before the city's vaccine hubs transition over, it's online vaccine finder will be updated to help parents find the location nearest to them.
“While we still await formal federal guidance, we want parents to know that the vaccine is here, it is safe, and it protects against COVID-19 and its most severe complications. As the city’s doctor, and as a father of a three-year-old, I have confidence in this vaccine, and I can’t wait to get my child vaccinated," Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan said.
The city announced its readiness plan the same day the Food and Drug Administration recommended the Moderna and Pfizer shots for kids under five. All that remains is the final approval from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, whose advisers plan to meet Saturday to discuss the vaccines.
It's been nearly 16 months since the first vaccines protecting against COVID-19 were first approved for adults in the U.S. The mayor acknowledged the extraordinary amount of time parents have had to wait to vaccine their babies, and assured that the city's resources would be in place by next week.
"We are looking to make this process as seamless as possible for parents, which is why we’re preparing, through city sites and partnerships with trusted pediatricians, to vaccinate and protect all of our children as soon as this vaccine is ready and shipped," Adams said.
New York City health officials say the city remains at a high COVID alert level. That had appeared on track to change this week, based on a lengthy Twitter thread in which health chief Dr. Ashwin Vasan declared the latest peak had passed. Mayor Eric Adams' rapid follow -- lifting the toddler mask mandate -- provided further encouragement on that front. But no alert level transition has come yet.
Experts appear to agree it's apparent that all signs are pointing in the right direction for New York City as it emerges from this latest pandemic threat.
The latest wave has been largely blamed on the omicron subvariant BA.2.12.1, which has been said to be at least 25% more transmissible than the strain that came before it, omicron's BA.2. BA.2 was thought to be at least 30% more contagious than the original omicron, which, as all of America and the globe saw this past winter, was the most infectious COVID strain to date at the time it emerged.
Hospitalizations increased, though to a lesser and more manageable degree than they did during previous waves associated with omicron and delta.
All five boroughs were downgraded weeks ago from the CDC's highest risk category. In the latest federal update, only the Bronx, which was long the lone holdout in the medium-risk category before joining the other boroughs in late May, is low risk.