Gov. Andrew Cuomo has introduced New York to the "weapon that is going to win the war" against COVID-19.
During an impromptu COVID-19 briefing on Thursday, Dec. 3 in Albany, Cuomo showcased the vaccine after the state received the first batch of vials containing the vaccination.
“The next chapter is going to be vaccine distribution and acceptance,” Cuomo said. “This is the weapon that wins the COVID war, and we have to get serious about this.
“The distribution is a massive undertaking by the government, and we’ve said since the beginning that it has to be fair and equitable, and we need funding to do it,” he added. “And it’s important that we have serious outreach to the Black, Brown, and poor communities.”
According to Cuomo, for the vaccination to be effective, approximately 75 percent to 85 percent will need to take it, a figure that is problematic, he said, because recent polls have found that approximately half of New Yorkers will initially be unwilling to take the shot.
“People will have to do their part and accept this vaccine. Mathematically, it doesn’t work,” he said. “We can’t make anyone take the vaccination, and I’d never ask anyone to take a vaccine or get a COVID test if I was unwilling to do so.
Cuomo reiterated that the vaccine likely will not reach the general population for some time, as the first several batches are used to vaccinate nursing home employees and residents.
“We have to think about this (vaccine) seriously, because it’s real,” he said while unveiling the vaccine for the first time. “How real is it? It’s in this box.”
The vaccines, which were developed by New York-based Pfizer and packaged in glass vials produced by another New York company in Corning, require strict handling and shipping practices.
Cuomo noted that the vaccines come equipped with a GPS tracking device and a thermal thermometer so the temperature of the package can be monitored. The vials come packed in dry ice, and have to be stored at extremely cold temperatures to remain effective.
Each box comes with five trays containing vials of the vaccine, with each holding approximately 195 vials each, good for approximately 5,000 doses in each box.
“The distribution itself is going to take a lot of work and a lot of effort,” the governor added. “It’s not easy, but it’s real, and I’m proud of Pfizer and Corning ... We’re working hard to be ready for distribution and training and to make sure it’s all done correctly.
“This is the weapon that’s going to win the war and that’s the light at the end of the tunnel,” he said. “It’s not going to be tomorrow … it’s not a short tunnel. But we know the way through this, now we just have to get there.”
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