N.Y.C. Postpones Vaccine Appointments As Winter Storm ApproachesFebruary 1, 2021
Vaccine sites in the New York metro area are closing Monday because of a looming winter storm that is expected to dump up to 16 inches of snow on the region.
Winter storm warnings were in place for a large swath of the eastern United States on Sunday, disrupting vaccinations in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, New Jersey and elsewhere.
At a news conference on Sunday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said he did not want older New Yorkers on the road traveling to vaccine appointments, warning of blizzard-like conditions with gusty winds. Vaccinations scheduled for Tuesday in New York City have not been canceled, for now, Mr. de Blasio said.
The storm will temporarily derail a vaccine rollout in New York City that has been plagued with inadequate supply, buggy sign-up systems and confusion over the state’s strict eligibility guidelines. The vaccine is available to residents 65 and older as well as a wide range of workers designated “essential.”
About 800,000 doses have been administered so far in the city, Mr. de Blasio said.
Vaccine appointments at several sites in the region — the Javits Center in Manhattan, the Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens, a drive-through site at Jones Beach in Long Island, SUNY Stony Brook and the Westchester County Center — would be rescheduled for this week, according to a statement from Melissa DeRosa, a top aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo. “We ask all New Yorkers to monitor the weather and stay off the roads tomorrow so our crews and first responders can safely do their jobs,” she said.
In the Philadelphia area, city-run testing and vaccine sites will be closed on Monday. Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey and parts of the D.C., Maryland and Virginia areas were following suit. Some areas away from the center of the storm were expected to remain open for vaccinations, including parts of Massachusetts and upstate New York.
In Oregon, a storm on Tuesday led one group of health officials transporting vaccines near their expiration to offer them to drivers stuck on the side of the road.
The rollout in New York City has also been hampered by distribution issues and stark racial disparities, with Black and Latino residents receiving far fewer doses than white residents, according to Mr. de Blasio.
The city’s demographic data was incomplete, but the numbers so far were striking: Of nearly 300,000 city residents who received one dose and whose race was recorded, about 48 percent were white, 15 percent were Latino, 15 percent were Asian and 11 percent were Black. Latino and Black residents were underrepresented: The city’s population is roughly 29 percent Latino and 24 percent Black.
An attempt to bring more vaccination kits to underserved communities in Brooklyn and the Bronx, including at churches and public housing sites, was also put on delay for the storm this week, as six pop-up sites in the two boroughs were rescheduled to Wednesday, Ms. DeRosa said.