By Jonathan Allen
NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York City aims to vaccinate 1 million residents against the coronavirus by the end of January 2021, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Thursday.
He said the effort will require setting up vaccination sites across the city, which is home to about 8.3 million people.
"Our goal is to get upwards of 250 locations citywide," de Blasio said at a news conference, saying the city would dispense the vaccine through smaller health centers and clinics. "This is going to be a massive effort."
Vaccinations are taking much longer to dispense in the United States than hoped, and previous projections by U.S. officials have proved exaggerated. Only about 2.8 million Americans have received a vaccine in December, far short of the government's target to vaccinate 20 million people this month.
About 348,000 doses of vaccine have been sent to New York City so far since becoming available earlier this month. Some 88,000 residents have already received the first of two required doses, according to data from the city's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
The city is vaccinating fewer than 5,000 people each day on average, the data shows. In order to meet the mayor's target, the city will have to increase its vaccination rate sixfold to an average of roughly 29,000 people a day in January.
The city will continue to prioritize health care workers, first responders and nursing home residents in January's vaccinations.
(Reporting by Jonathan Allen; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama, Dan Grebler and Jonathan Oatis)