By Chris Sommerfeldt, NY Daily News
Federal regulators haven’t authorized booster shots of the coronavirus vaccine yet — but Mayor de Blasio is already laying the groundwork for administering them.
Hizzoner rolled out a booster shot plan Thursday that involves offering the additional doses at all vaccination sites in the city and extending opening hours at some of them to ensure access.
The timeline remains hazy for when the Food and Drug Administration could authorize booster doses to the general public, but de Blasio said the pandemic has shown it can’t hurt to be proactive.
“We need to be ready to move immediately,” he said at his daily morning briefing. “We are ready.”
De Blasio’s plan taps all 1,900 vaccination sites in the five boroughs to administer booster doses. Twenty-five city-run vaccination sites will also extend their hours in order to “meet demand” for boosters, de Blasio said.
Once the FDA gives the go-ahead, de Blasio said his administration will launch “outreach campaigns,” with city workers being dispatched to help New Yorkers book booster appointments.
The city will also host booster shot pop-up events on weekends to inject an additional 45,000 shots per week if necessary, de Blasio said.
Boosters are currently only authorized in the U.S. for immuno-comprised recipients of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines. The one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine has not been cleared for booster shots.
Public health experts, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, have said for months that boosters will likely be recommended to ensure protection as the extremely contagious delta variant of COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc across the country.
But FDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials noted earlier this month that scientists still have troves of data to pore over and warned that Pfizer may be the only vaccine that can be cleared for booster doses before October.
As booster uncertainty remains, vaccination rates are continuing to tick up in New York.
As of Thursday, 80% of the city’s adult population has gotten at least one vaccine dose, according to Health Department data. Sixty percent of the total population, including eligible children, is vaccinated, the data shows.