Healthcare workers in New York are being vaccinated for COVID-19 at a quicker rate statewide as officials continue to prioritize controlling hospital capacity during the latest wave of the virus.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that the state’s top priority when it comes to the COVID-19 vaccine is to ensure that healthcare workers receive their shots first to ensure hospitals can maintain necessary staff during the pandemic.
“Our top priority on the vaccination was healthcare workers to make sure we have hospital capacity. We want to make sure hospitals don’t reach their capacity limits as we’ve seen in California and Italy,” Cuomo said. “When that happens, we see people die unnecessarily.
“If you ask hospitals across the state now what the main issue is, they have beds and equipment, but they’re worried about staff shortages,” he added. “So our top priority was to vaccinate healthcare staff to ensure they can provide medical treatment.”
Cuomo said that as of Monday, Jan. 25, 72 percent of the state’s healthcare workers had been vaccinated, a jump from 63 percent a week ago. Cuomo said that the state will need between 70 percent and 90 percent of New Yorkers to get vaccinated to achieve herd immunity.
“In one week we went from 63 to 72 percent, so that was a major jump, it was initially a problem, but the focus has worked,” Cuomo added. “I know we literally said what the percentage of hospitals (administering the vaccine) was across the state, and I think that got their attention.”
In the Hudson Valley, the highest-performing hospitals were Vassar Brothers Medical Center (93 percent), New York-Presbyterian Hudson Valley Hospital (90.4 percent), and Northern Westchester Hospital (88.4 percent).
The lowest-performing hospitals were Montefire Mount Vernon Hospital (40.3 percent), St. John's Riverside Hospital (45.2 percent), and Montefiore New Rochelle Hospital (51.2 percent).
The complete list can be viewed in the image above.
Cuomo questioned why there was such a variance in hospitals administering the vaccine to employees.
“In the mid-Hudson Valley, you see them go from 93 percent to 40. Why? What's the difference among these hospitals” he said. “There’s still a variance among hospitals that we’ve never gotten a good explanation for.”
The governor said that while he and the state Department of Health monitor hospital performance, it’s up to local officials to ensure that hospitals are administering the allocations of the vaccine that are distributed to them.
“There are more than 200 hospitals statewide. I can’t call every hospital and work out those local issues, but county governments, mayors can and know what hospitals are at what percent,” Cuomo added. “So we congratulate the high performers and ask the people who are at a lower level to get what help they need to get the percentage up because the variance is too great.”
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.