October 21, 2020
NEW YORK—As the City moves forward with its vision for an equitable, health-focused economic recovery, the de Blasio Administration today announced an initial COVID-19 vaccine framework. The City will work with the State to guarantee maximum distribution of a safe, effective, and free vaccine, with an emphasis on communities hardest hit by the pandemic. Over the next two months, the City will engage public health stakeholders and community groups across the city’s hospitals, clinics, FQHCs, independent pharmacies, urgent cares, and independent providers to ensure broad and equitable access to a vaccine citywide.
“In the absence of federal leadership, New York City is stepping up to ensure and safe and effective vaccine for all New Yorkers,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “With public health at the forefront, we are moving full steam ahead to rebuild our city, guaranteeing a healthier and more equitable future for all New Yorkers.”
Phase one of distribution—to be available as early as November—will provide a limited number of doses primarily reserved for healthcare personnel, frontline workers, and other vulnerable groups. To prepare for this initial rollout, the City is actively enrolling providers in the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s Citywide Immunization Registry, focusing first on hospitals and then on FQHCs. Over 2,500 providers are currently reporting to the Registry. Through webinars and meetings, DOHMH will continue to educate providers about vaccine availability, likely priority groups, proper storage, and how to order, receive, administer, allocate, and report on the vaccine.
Phase two of distribution, which could occur as early as 2021, will see more widespread availability for the general public. To meet this increased availability, the City will ensure that there is adequate storage and capacity. The City will continue to recruit and prepare community providers, including FQHCs, pharmacies, urgent care, hospitals, NYC Health + Hospitals, DOHMH COVID-19 testing sites, and community vaccinators. Vaccine uptake will be closely and consistently tracked through the Citywide Immunization Registry, with results reported out to the public on a periodic basis. The City will also monitor for serious, adverse effects and educate providers on how to report on them. Additionally, the City will conduct its own vaccine effectiveness studies and continually follow up with a sample of New Yorkers who receive a vaccine.
“New York City has decades of experience mounting successful vaccination campaigns—from smallpox to influenza,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Dave A. Chokshi. “As a City we will also partner with communities to address possible fear or skepticism toward a vaccine. Trust is an essential ingredient for turning a vaccine into a vaccination.”