The first batch of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccines will include 170,000 doses that are earmarked for New York’s nursing homes, healthcare workers, and other vulnerable populations.
During his COVID-19 briefing on Wednesday, Dec. 2 in Albany, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that the first batch is coming to New York, with more on the way from both Pfizer and Moderna expected later in the month.
Those vaccinated will have to get two doses, with the second round expected to be delivered by Pfizer 21 days after the first arrive on Tuesday, Dec. 15.
Cuomo said that the number of vaccines heading to each state was done by the percentage of population, and there was no discretion about which state received how many doses.
“To do this, we’re going to need federal funding, we’re going to need a real aggressive outreach program, and we need the public to socially accept it and have confidence (in the efficacy of the virus,)” he said. “I was speaking to (President-elect) Joe Biden, and said that this is the largest governmental operation undertaken since World War II in my opinion.”
With the first few batches of vaccines, Cuomo and his aides said that they would be prioritizing the 80,000 residents in New York nursing homes and 130,000 employees working in those facilities before then offering them to frontline healthcare workers.
“Seniors in long-term congregate facilities and then healthcare workers are at the top of the (priority order),” they said. “We know that not every person in a nursing home is going to get it, so the vaccines that were originally going to nursing homes will then go to healthcare workers in the ER and ICU who are at the most risk.”
The governor made note that since the pandemic began, the nation has administered approximately 130 million COVID-19 tests. To vaccinate every American for the virus, it would require 330 million doses - twice.
“How long does that take,” Cuomo questioned. This state is doing more testing than any state in the United States, and we’ve only done about the population of (New York), and that was with us doing everything we could.
“And that took us nine months … and a COVID test isn’t a frightening test, it’s a nasal swap,” he added. “Now we’re asking a person o take two vaccines, which is a more elaborate medical procedure, and they were already nervous going in.”
With the first batch of vaccines from Pfizer, approximately 40 million doses are expected to be distributed, which will vaccinate 20 million people, which represents 6 percent of all Americans.
Cuomo added that before the economy can return to the new “normal,” he estimates that approximately 75 percent to 85 percent of New Yorkers will need to get vaccinated.
“For nine months, everyone across the country has been focused on one thing: doing COVID tests. And there were all hands on deck to administer those COVID tests,’ he said. “Some polls found that 60 percent of people are skeptical because they thought the approval process was politicized.
“The vaccine is not coming (for all) tomorrow,” Cuomo stated. “It’s not as easy as we think, and it has to be done fairly and equitably to correct some of the mistakes we’ve made so far.”
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