Scott Stringer slams ‘frustrating’ NYC COVID-19 vaccine rollout

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Letters to the editor — Jan. 3, 2021

Comptroller and 2021 mayoral candidate Scott Stringer panned New York’s “frustrating” coronavirus vaccine rollout on Sunday, while offering his own proposals to get the shots into the arms of city residents more rapidly.

Stringer sounded off on Twitter, joining a chorus of critics objecting to the sluggish process that has seen much of the state’s vaccine reserves go untapped.

“During the pandemic, our public hospital system has proven to be a national leader in #COVID19 testing,” he wrote in starting the thread. “That’s why this vaccine rollout has been so frustrating—we know we can do so much better.

“This is the city that never sleeps—let’s act like it.”

The first step, Stringer said, is immediately inoculating all healthcare workers on the front lines of the crisis.

The city Department of Health “needs to rapidly scale up *now*, and they need the resources to do so. That includes vaccinating all healthcare workers IMMEDIATELY, as well as nursing home staff and residents,” he wrote. “Every private hospital must be part of the solution to administer all available doses.”

Stringer also called for targeted efforts to administer the shots around the clock, and greater transparency on how the process is unfolding.

“We should set up *24/7* vaccine distribution centers starting in COVID hot spots and partnering with community-based trusted messengers,” he wrote.

“New Yorkers deserve increased public communication about vaccine rollout and real-time updates about their own status,” he added. “There’s no excuse to leave people in the dark—it only allows misinformation to spread.”

Calling the vaccine “the hope we have all been waiting for,” Stringer urged officials not to botch the chance while they have it.

“[T]he current speed of the vaccination rollout is not going to get the job done for our city. We need to use every single tool at our disposal to pick up the pace,” he wrote. “Lives are on the line, to say nothing of our economy.”

Among the failings of the local vaccine ramp-up was the delay of shots for the NYPD, despite cops’ frequent interactions with the public.

Speaking about that aborted launch at a press briefing last week, Mayor Bill de Blasio said that the city could “unquestionably” be moving faster if not for tight state restrictions on who can receive the vaccine when.

But those hold-ups didn’t stop de Blasio from boldly claiming that one million city residents would be vaccinated in January despite the early hiccups.

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