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As U.S. Mourns 400,000 Lives Lost, Mayor De Blasio Wants Approval To Use Vaccine Earmarked For Second Doses For First Shots

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- People across the Tri-State Area are honoring those who lost their lives during the coronavirus pandemic, as Mayor Bill de Blasio calls for dramatic changes in his ability to use his dwindling supply of vaccine.

A delay in the shipment of the Moderna vaccine and the need to cancel 23,000 appointments has led the mayor to demand approval to use shipments earmarked for second doses to give tens of thousands of New Yorkers their first shot, CBS2's Marcia Kramer reported Wednesday.

"My frustration is a lot of vaccine, 65,000 doses, sitting in a refrigerator on an artificial reserve, when we need them right now," de Blasio said.

The delayed shipment of over 103,000 Moderna doses is expected to arrive either some time on Wednesday or Thursday, officials said.

The shortage has forced the city to cancel thousands of appointments and close 15 vaccine hubs for the next two days. A hub at IM 88 on West 114th Street another at the Walton Education School on Reservoir Avenue in the Bronx are among the temporary closures on Thursday and Friday.


When questions were raised about whether people who already got their first doses would be denied their second dose, officials insisted people will get their second doses eventually and that a slight delay is within federal guidelines.

"It was included in part of the protocols. In some of the protocols they allowed a valid dose to be given up to seven days or even several weeks longer," said Dr. Jay Varma, the city's senior advisor for public health.

Meanwhile, Gov. Andrew Cuomo disclosed that the state also has depleted supplies, adding 86% of doses received have been put in people's arms, leaving only a two- or three-day supply.

"What's clear now is we're going to be going from week to week and you will see a constant pattern of basically running out and waiting for next week's allotment," Cuomo said.


All of this comes as the nation marked an agonizing anniversary -- the first COVID-19 case reported in the United States. Social distancing and mask wearing have not been enough to prevent more than 400,000 people from losing their lives to the virus.

Those who lost loved ones mourned at the steps of City Hall in Jersey City on Tuesday.

MORE: Jersey City Residents Mourn Lives Lost To COVID-19 Pandemic As US Death Toll Surpasses 400,000

When Sabila Khan's father passed away last April, she didn't get to say goodbye.

"Remember the faces behind the numbers. Remember they had names, they had lives, they loved, they had families that they they've now left behind, and they died horrible lonely deaths. That's what I want the country to remember," Khan said.

As part of the national day of remembrance, the Empire State building was lit up. Meanwhile, Mayor de Blasio was just one of many in New York who said more vaccine is needed.

MORECOVID Vaccine In New York: Fed Up With The Feds, Gov. Cuomo Requests Buying Doses From Pfizer Directly

Rockland County Executive Ed Day said he wants Albany to send more doses because his county is completely out of vaccine.

"This is bureaucratic arrogance. It's pathetic and it's sad," Day said.

CBS2's John Dias contributed to this report


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