NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The federal government now says people ages 65 and older and the immunocompromised should be eligible to be vaccinated.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday that New York state will follow that guidance. It opens eligibility to 7 million New Yorkers, but the state still only receives 300,000 doses per week, CBS2’s John Dias reported.
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It was another day, another line outside the Brooklyn Army Terminal vaccine hub. Residents in category 1B waited eagerly to get their COVID-19 shots.
“Opening up huge centers like this 24/7 was a really smart move, really a smart move,” said Veronica Najhar of Park Slope, Brooklyn.
But not everyone is as optimistic. Eddie Garcia said he still has been having major issues when trying to book his slot.
“I’ve been trying since day one when they said it was open. I can’t get in,” federal law enforcement officer Eddie Garcia said. “I’ve done the computer, the phone. I’ve done everything.”
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Garcia said he doesn’t understand why hubs don’t just book future appointments when people like him show up in person.
“Put my name on a paper, tell me to come back two days from now, three days from now,” Garcia said. “I’m a federal law enforcement officer. I deal with people every day … and I’m scared.”
Marcia Danoff, 76, doesn’t have a computer and can’t get through on the phone.
“I called one number, they referred me to somebody else and this continued. I made six calls,” the Lower East Side resident told CBS2’s Jessica Layton. “It was a total nightmare.”
She eventually had to call her friends to sign her up online.
“It’s unconscionable,” Danoff said. “They’ve had since at least April. They knew the vaccine was coming.”
She eventually got a slot for mid-February, but she and so many others say it shouldn’t be this hard.
The city said their two 24/7 clinics were booked overnight, but Dias didn’t see many people in the Bronx.
“The process took about 15 minutes, and then you had to wait another 15 minutes to just check if you have any side effects,” Enrico Caspaneba said.
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Back in Brooklyn, there was a similar quiet site at the same time. One woman took her 91-year-old mother at 6:30 a.m.
“It was quick as anything. They said they had people all night, but there were lows at midnight,” said Maryann Sullivan of Carroll Gardens.
Mayor Bill de Blasio would not going into detail about the lack of lines overnight, but did say Tuesday that the city administered 26,000 doses on Monday. He is now calling on the federal government to increase supply before the city runs out.
“At the rate we are going, we’re going to be out in less than two weeks,” de Blasio said.
“You’re telling people today, you’re eligible, but you’re simultaneously telling people, we don’t have enough dosages to get to you for the next six months. Is that helpful? I don’t think so,” Cuomo said of the state receiving just 300,000 doses per week.
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A thrilled de Blasio announced the Mets and new owner Steve Cohen have stepped up to the plate by allowing Citi Field to be used as a 24/7 vaccination site, CBS2’s Andrea Grymes reported.
“Any way the organization could help support this effort, we were gonna do it,” Cohen said.
New York City Health + Hospitals will run the site, beginning the week of Jan. 25 and plans to administer 5,000 to 7,000 shots per day.
“You and your whole team immediately answered the call here and I’m so thankful,” de Blasio said.
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Yankee Stadium is also on deck as a 24/7 mass vaccination site.
A Yankees spokesperson released the following statement Tuesday night:
“The New York Yankees reached out several months ago to both New York City and New York State to offer Yankee Stadium as a potential vaccination host location. Ongoing dialogue resulted in a call earlier today from New York City officials to the Yankees organization, and we are currently working with city representatives to finalize details that will enable us to utilize Yankee Stadium as a vaccination site. We are gratified knowing that Yankee Stadium will serve our community in such a vital and meaningful way.”
Meanwhile, during an expected oversight meeting on Tuesday the City Council will determine if the city is doing everything in its power to safely and efficiently vaccinate New Yorkers as quickly as possible. There are calls to streamline the process and add more vaccine sites, including 24/7 operations.
“We undoubtedly need to significantly expand supply of vaccines from manufacturers,” Councilman Mark Levine said.
“We all knew for at least eight months that a vaccine was coming. We new that millions of people had to be vaccinated. Why are we just now figuring out where and how to administer it?” Councilwoman Carlina Rivera added.
The mayor is still promising that by the end of the week, every single borough will have one 24/7 vaccination clinic set up.
Connecticut and New Jersey have not announced yet if they’ll open the vaccine to those 65 and older.
CBS2’s John Dias, Andrea Grymes and Jessica Layton contributed to this report