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Wider Vaccinations: A Scramble to Boost Vaccinations in New York

New York is now entering its fifth week since coronavirus vaccinations began. But the effort has been rife with complications.

Medical providers, unable to find patients who met the state’s vaccination guidelines, have reported throwing away doses. A more transmissible variant of the virus has been found in the state. Local officials, like Mayor Bill de Blasio, have said the rollout has been slow because of their inability to distribute vaccine more quickly to groups outside of the groups the state designated. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has pointed the finger at poor execution from hospital management, among other problems.

Mr. de Blasio wants one million doses administered by the end of January. But as of Sunday morning, just over 203,000 inoculations had be given since mid-December.

This weekend, officials scrambled to jump-start the effort.

Expanded eligibility

For weeks, Mr. Cuomo maintained that the first vaccinations should go only to the most at-risk health care workers, and residents and staff of nursing homes and group homes.

But on Friday, Mr. Cuomo said that starting as early as Monday, a wider range of essential workers, including teachers, could get vaccinated, as well as New Yorkers 75 years and older.

On Saturday, the state loosened the guidelines again. Medical providers can now also vaccinate employees who interact with the public if there are extra doses in a vial and no one from “the priority population can come in before the doses expire.”

Mass vaccination centers

On Sunday, New York City opened five vaccination centers: facilities for mass inoculation at the Brooklyn Army Terminal and the Bathgate Contract Postal Station in the Bronx; and smaller “vaccine hubs” at the South Bronx Educational Campus, the Bushwick Educational Campus in Brooklyn and Hillcrest High School in Jamaica, Queens.

City officials are urging eligible people to sign up online to book an appointment to get the vaccine.

The landscape

More than 8,400 people are hospitalized statewide, Gov. Cuomo said on Sunday, more than double the number at the beginning of December. The statewide rate of positive test results was 6.22 percent, compared with around 5 percent at the beginning of December.

In New York City, the seven-day average positivity rate was 8.77 percent, Mr. de Blasio said on Sunday, compared with about 5.5 percent at the beginning of December. There were 251 new hospitalizations, compared with a seven-day average of 151 at the beginning of December.

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