A vaccine for COVID-19 is likely weeks or months away from being approved, but New York State now has a plan for when it is.
The NYS Department of Health released a draft COVID-19 Vaccination Administration Program on Sunday, Oct. 18.
It provides an initial framework for ensuring the safe and effective distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine in New York.
It was developed in consultation with clinical and public health experts and includes partnerships with local departments of health, community partners and organizations, and the federal government.
"Given the many unknowns at this point in the vaccine development process, the program is designed to be flexible and account for multiple variables and scenarios regarding vaccine availability, the timeline for vaccine approval, funding, supply chain needs, and allocation requirements," the state health department said.
Most vaccines being worked on would require two separate doses for each individual. New York State's approximate population is 19.4 million.
“How do you administer 40 million vaccines to the state of New York?" Gov. Andrew Cuomo asked on Sunday. "That is the trick."
Pharmacies, urgent-care centers, primary-care locations, state Health Department offices, and hospitals are among sites being earmarked for vaccine distribution.
Storage of the vaccine is now estimated to require units of minus 80 degrees.
“There is a question of how many refrigeration units would be available to do that," Cuomo said.
Following the determination that the vaccine is safe and effective, the draft Vaccination Program prioritizes recipients based on science, clinical expertise, and public health.
The first doses would go to both those most at risk for COVID and front-line healthcare workers in hotspots, Cuomo said.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.