Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Tuesday that the city will roll out a mobile vaccine bus this week. The bus, which can give out 150-200 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine a day, will be used to reach the city’s most vulnerable populations.
During its first week in operation, the mobile clinic will be focused on restaurant and delivery workers. Its first stop on Wednesday will be Sunset Park in Brooklyn.
“This will take the vaccinations right to them,” de Blasio said at a press conference Tuesday morning. “They’ve been making sure New Yorkers have been fed… they’ve been vulnerable. Obviously, a number of them happen to be undocumented folks, so we have to reach them.”
The city has administered over 4.5 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines so far—and the boroughs ended March by surpassing 500,000 vaccinations in a single week. Eligibility opened up Tuesday to anyone older than 16.
Dr. Ted Long, the director of the city’s Test and Trace Corps, gave a brief tour of the bus, including six exam rooms separated by six feet and hospital curtains.
“This bus will tear down barriers to getting vaccinated by bringing hundreds of doses a day literally to your doorstep,” Long said. “With this new mobile bus that we can drive anywhere in the city, plus our 20 mobile vans we have today, NYC’s vaccine efforts are truly… on the move.”
You can watch Long’s very enthusiastic tour of the bus below.
The buses and vans complement the city’s recent efforts to reach the most vulnerable New Yorkers and help close equity gaps in distribution. That includes expanding their walk-up pilot program for seniors 75+ from three to 25 sites this week, as well as setting aside appointments at all city-run health sites for seniors.
According to the latest statewide data, almost 10.5 million doses have been administered in New York so far, with over 1.4 million given in the last week alone. Altogether, 33% of New York residents have received at least one vaccine dose, while about 20% have received two doses. (Reminder: The vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna require two shots for a complete course, while Johnson & Johnson only requires one, for now.)
De Blasio added that he was “very confident” that NYC would be able to vaccinate over five million people by June.
“If we can go even faster and get even more, of course, we want to, but job one is to hit that goal because I think that is one of those critical mass points,” de Blasio said. “This is something we worked with our health care leadership on—what would be an amount of full vaccinations that would be a game-changer for NYC? We agreed five million would make a huge difference…and we’re going to do it.”