NEW YORK - New York City took a step toward the City Hall goal to have 5 million residents vaccinated by June with 2 million vaccinated thus far.
Mayor Bill de Blasio n Tuesday turned his attention towards expanding the list of those who are eligible for the life-saving shots. Especially focusing on courtroom staff, from officers to prosecutors to jurors, with the goal of restarting the justice system the slowdown of which has rippled problems across the city.
Once again, the mayor called for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to relinquish his emergency powers, saying local governments know who needs to be vaccinated better than Albany does.
"The state of New York is not keeping up with updating these eligibility categories," de Blasio said at his Tuesday briefing. "So I'm calling on the state to do the right thing. Give these folks the ability to vaccinate. Give us the freedom to vaccinate."
Meanwhile, the city will soon receive the single-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine. The single shots allow the city to reach homebound residents and those with mobility challenges, although officials warned formulating the complicated process of delivering individual doses will take time.
Public health officials continue to fight what they call a false impression that the Johnson and Johnson vaccine is less effective than previously approved vaccines. Officials made clear the studies for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were conducted before variants emerged. They emphasized that the data shows all three forms of the vaccine are 100% effective in preventing death and nearly as effective in preventing serious illness that requires hospitalization.
"They stopped those severe outcomes. They are powerful at doing that. It doesn't matter if you get Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer or Moderna," Dr. Jay Varma, the mayor's senior advisor for public health, said. "The results are absolutely clear. Once you get vaccinated, you wait a couple of weeks for your body to build up that system. There are basically close to zero hospitalizations and absolutely zero deaths."
As a vote of confidence, de Blasio said he will take the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.
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