NEW YORK — About a half-million people per week are getting coronavirus vaccinations in New York City, meeting the goal set by the de Blasio administration months ago. The state — and New Jersey — are similarly meeting vaccination goals, as vaccine supply appears to begin matching demand.
However, even as that’s happening, the prospect of a yearly vaccination against the virus is increasing.
The manufacturers of both vaccines currently in use — Pfizer and Moderna — said this week that they’re each working on a booster vaccine.
The CEOs of both companies said that their booster shots are on course to being available later this year.
It’s a situation that could mean even if a person is currently vaccinated, they may need a shot every year for protection.
However, as Dr. Waleed Javaid, the director of infection prevention and control at Mt. Sinai, said that because there’s still limited data about virus, it may be too soon to know if boosters are needed.
“It’s going to take some time,” Dr. Javaid said, “before we can make that determination.”
Javaid, an infectious disease expert, said that the pharmaceutical companies are working on booster doses in order to stay ahead of the virus.
“I get what they’re doing,” Javaid said. However, he added, regarding each booster, “I’m not sure if we’ll need it or not.”
At Citi Field — one of the busiest vaccination sites in the region — people who’d just gotten vaccinated said that the jury is out about getting re-vaccinated every year.
Jerry Green had just gotten a Pfizer shot, and said that it’s too soon to tell if he’ll make it a yearly ritual.
“That’s a choice that I’ll have to see how I feel at that time,” he told PIX11 News.
Aileen Palaguachi was at the megasite with her father, Manuel. She said even though it’s premature to say that a yearly shot will be needed, she’s willing to get one.
“If you could go back to normal,” she said, minutes after getting her Pfizer vaccination, “and even try to… be safe, too, and healthy… it’s good, like, it’s something that I would do.”
One thing much clearer for those in New York City: City employees will return to work in person on May 3.
On his weekly radio appearance on WNYC, Mayor Bill de Blasio said he stands by his previous deadline, and that he hopes that the city government’s return to work will be a guideline for private companies.
“Our healthcare team is talking to a lot of folks in the private sector about the right ways to do things. The right ventilation, the right PPE, distancing, cleaning, mask wearing. It works … This is part of New York City coming back for all of us,” he said
Also on Friday, the White House Coronavirus Task Force designated $1.7 billion of American Rescue Plan funds to research and fight coronavirus variants.
The local share of that funding is designated specifically.
New York state, outside of New York City, will receive $7 million; New Jersey will get $5.8 million; New York City will receive $5.5 million; Connecticut will receive $2.86 million.
The White House said that the payments would be distributed next month, and then a second round of payments would be made “over the next several years,” according to a statement.