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NYC comptroller blasts ‘outrageous’ vaccine rollout as Mayor Bill de Blasio warns of dwindling supply

Originally published by Yahoo! Finance.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio pleaded with the federal government to release more COVID-19 doses, saying the city could run out of supply next week. But the process of getting existing shots into people’s arms has been rife with disorganization.

“The rollout has been outrageous,” New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer told Yahoo Finance Live, noting that only about 40% of the city’s existing doses had been administered, according to the latest data available.

“The website that was put up crashed,” Stringer said, referring to the city’s vaccine egistration process. “People over 75 who desperately need this vaccine, and frontline workers, can’t navigate a simple website. It’s too complicated, they ask 51 questions.”

The bottlenecks were highlighted Thursday and Friday, when hundreds of people showed up at the Brooklyn Army Terminal after a false rumor circulated that vaccine doses were available. Even some individuals who had appointments were turned away, according to the New York Daily News.

At the same time, de Blasio warned:

We will run out of #COVID19 vaccines next week.

We know there are unused doses in this country.

We know New York City gets our doses to people quickly.

The federal government should send us the doses we need NOW.

— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) January 15, 2021

Stringer said there’s plenty of blame to go around when it comes to the botched rollout.

“We knew from almost the day the virus hit that a vaccine was in the works and it was very likely it would roll out sometime by the end of the year,” he said.

Stringer is a Democrat who’s running for mayor amidst a crowded field, including the newest entrant to the race, former presidential candidate Andrew Yang, who is best known for running in the Democratic primary on a platform of universal basic income. When asked about Yang’s national profile, Stringer said he’s beat the odds before, upsetting Eliot Spitzer in the race for comptroller after early polls put the scandal-ridden former New York governor well ahead.

As for vaccine management going forward, Stringer is optimistic that supply will increase once President-elect Joe Biden takes office.

“We finally have a president who is committed to saving lives and is committed to rolling out the kind of response we’re seeing in other countries,” he said. “This is what we’ve needed from the federal government.”