De Blasio concedes vaccine slowdown in NYC, says new tactics coming

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Mayor Bill de Blasio on Wednesday acknowledged the massive slowdown in the Big Apple’s coronavirus vaccination effort and promised to launch new incentives to help entice hesitant New Yorkers to get their jabs — but conceded those plans remain in the works.

Hizzoner made the remarks as he was pressed by reporters following a Post report that the number of New Yorkers seeking shots has plummeted in recent weeks, even though 45 percent of adult city residents still need a shot.

“We’re nailing down the final details, but you’re going to be seeing a lot more,” de Blasio said about the new incentives. “We know there’s a lot of places where we could create really exciting opportunities.”

Hizzoner said his administration is working with sports teams and other venues to come up with deals like the one City Hall arranged with the Museum of Natural History — where New Yorkers can get jabbed beneath the famed blue whale and score free tickets for museum entry, too.

Mayor Bill de Blasio talks with just COVID-19 vaccinated patients, under the 94-foot-long, 21,000-pound model of a blue whale, as he tours the vaccination site in the Milstein Family Hall of Ocean Life, at the American Museum of Natural History on April 23, 2021 in New York City.
Mayor Bill de Blasio talks with people who just received COVID-19 vaccinations, under the 94-foot-long, 21,000-pound model of a blue whale at the American Museum of Natural History on April 23, 2021.
Getty Images

“We’re going to keep innovating, so we can keep moving this forward,” de Blasio added. “Every single additional person who gets vaccinated helps us.”

The Post’s findings and de Blasio’s pronouncement come as officials are struggling to improve vaccine acceptance in many of New York’s minority communities.

City health officials are already spending big bucks — $16 million in May alone — on a public service advertising campaign for the vaccines, and Health Commissioner Dave Chokshi issued an advisory to city doctors asking them to directly reach out to patients who have not yet been jabbed.

A pharmacist prepares the Pfizer vaccine at a pop-up vaccination clinic in Chinatown on March 26, 2021 in New York City.
Mayor Bill de Blasio has set a goal of getting 5 million New Yorkers fully vaccinated by the end of June.
Getty Images

Still, only 30 percent of black New York adults have received at least one dose and the numbers are scarcely better among Latino New Yorkers — just 37 percent of whom have gotten at least one shot. Both figures lag significantly behind the citywide average of 55 percent.

So far, about 3.7 million New Yorkers have gotten at least one shot and 2.7 million are completely vaccinated. De Blasio has set a goal of getting 5 million New York adults completely vaccinated by the end of June.

Officials have often chalked up the massive disparities to decades-long distrust of the medical profession in poorer and minority neighborhoods.

Mayor Bill de Blasio
Mayor Bill de Blasio and his administration are working to entice hesitant residents to get vaccinated with deals from sports teams and museums.
Erik Pendzich/Shutterstock

However, a series of stories in The Post exposed shortcomings in the city and state’s public and private vaccine distribution network that made it far more difficult for minority and non-English-speaking New Yorkers to score jabs.

The struggles come as new data highlights the importance of getting vaccines into those communities. City health officials have cited — and de Blasio reiterated Wednesday — the massive drops in new coronavirus cases.

The city’s test positivity rate is now only 2.6 percent.

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