On Friday afternoon, Mayor Bill de Blasio sent a letter to President Biden requesting more doses and the “flexibility” to use second doses to vaccinate more New Yorkers sooner.
“While maintaining a secure reserve of second doses (two-week supply), the City is seeking the flexibility during this time to temporarily use the remaining supply of second doses to bridge the gap to a time of increased production, replenishing the second dose supply as production ramps,” Mr. de Blasio’s letter to Mr. Biden read.
But it was not immediately clear whether the Biden administration could guarantee any increase in supply. Federal health officials and corporate executives agree that it will be impossible to increase supply before April because of the lack of manufacturing capacity. And the current vaccination effort, which had little central direction under the Trump administration, has so far sown confusion and frustration. Some areas are complaining they are running out of doses, while others have unused vials sitting on shelves.
When asked about Mr. de Blasio’s request and New York’s dwindling supply of doses during Friday’s new conference, Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said the administration has “advocated for releasing additional access from the reserves, but we have really deferred to health and medical experts” about whether it was safe to delay second doses past the tested three to four-week window. She added that the Biden administration has “asked the C.D.C. to look into what the options are.”
According to a senior administration official, Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna are on track to deliver up to 18 million doses a week. Together, they have pledged to deliver 200 million doses by the end of March.
A third vaccine maker, Johnson & Johnson, is due to report the results of its clinical trial shortly. If approved, that vaccine would also help shore up production. If all of that supply were used, the nation could average well over two million shots a day.
In April and afterward, the outlook brightens. Pfizer and Moderna have each committed to supply another 100 million doses by the end of July; the companies may be able to provide even more. A week ago, Pfizer and BioNTech, its German partner, increased their global production target for the year to two billion doses from 1.3 billion doses.