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COVID-19: New York Setting Up 'Retail Sites' To Distribute Vaccine To General Population

New York is in the process of setting up new sites to administer COVID-19 vaccines.
New York is in the process of setting up new sites to administer COVID-19 vaccines. Photo Credit:

With more COVID-19 vaccines being disseminated to a larger group of New Yorkers, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the state will be setting up “retail sites” to help offset the demand of those seeking the vaccination.

Since the COVID-19 vaccines began circulating in New York approximately four weeks ago, frontline healthcare workers, nursing home employees, and residents have been at the forefront of those receiving the first round of doses.

As more allocations of the vaccine are distributed to New York, Cuomo announced that in addition to the state’s 194 public and private hospitals, they would also be arranging a “retail” network of locations to provide the vaccination to the masses.

Cuomo said that the “retail network” is already being set up in New York pharmacies, federally-qualified health centers, county health departments, private urgent care clinics, and private doctor networks.

“After phase 1A (of vaccinations,) we’re going to 1B,” the governor said during a COVID-19 briefing on Tuesday, Jan. 5. “So with that, we’re going to shift to a ‘retail network’ for the public distribution to the general public, and that’s already underway.”

According to Cuomo, the state will be supplying each of those outlets with the vaccine to do the distribution once New York is ready to start vaccinating the general public.

In total, 3,762 vaccination provider sites have been set up statewide:

  • Medical practices: 1,285;
  • Pharmacies: 802;
  • Long-term care facilities/congregate living settings: 510;
  • Federally qualified health centers: 325;
  • Hospitals/hospital sites: 250;
  • Urgent Care: 238;
  • Other: 176;
  • Community/rural/public health centers or clinics: 176.

More than 100 vaccination provider sites are being arranged in each of the state’s 10 regions:

  • New York City: 845;
  • Long Island: 713;
  • Mid-Hudson: 549;
  • Western New York: 351;
  • Capital Region: 343;
  • Finger Lakes: 297;
  • Central New York: 222;
  • North Country: 150;
  • Mohawk Valley: 147;
  • Southern Tier: 145.

“We’ve signed up hundreds in every region across the state, so we have a real ‘retail network,’” Cuomo said, adding that “‘retail network is not the best expression, because people don’t have to pay. There’s no co-pay and no charge, so ‘retail’ can be a little misleading.”

In addition to the hospitals and “retail network,” Cuomo also said that he is asking teacher’s unions, police, and fire departments to organize their own COVID-19 vaccine distribution systems where it is possible.

“Please think now about organizing your own system so it alleviates the burden on the ‘retail system,’ which is going to have to be dealing with the general public,” he said. “If a police department, or a fire department, or teacher’s union doesn’t have the means, then fine, but for those larger workforces and unions, I want you to start thinking about it now.

“The distribution system we’ve outlined can deliver millions of doses, but we’re only getting 300,000 (doses) a week, so we’re waiting for that to increase. There’s a lot of possibility for the federal government, but we have to increase the supply.” 

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