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Governor Cuomo Updates New Yorkers on COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Efforts

LongIsland.com

Governor Cuomo Updates New Yorkers on COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Efforts

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Governor Cuomo Updates New Yorkers on COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Efforts

By the end of this week, the state will have distributed approximately 911,000 first doses of the vaccine to providers for administration to eligible New Yorkers. Additionally, the Governor announced that to date, 3,762 providers have applied and been approved by the state to serve as vaccination sites. Currently, 636 locations are now activated and are able to begin vaccinating eligible New Yorkers. To prepare for the next phase of eligibility, the Governor is encouraging essential worker groups such as police departments, fire departments, educators, and public transit organizations to begin developing plans to vaccinate their workforce. Plans will ease the burden on hospitals and other vaccination locations when the general public becomes eligible to receive a vaccine.

In addition, the Governor renewed his call on the federal government to test all travelers from outside the United States. Despite the fact that the highly transmissible UK strain has been identified in 33 countries, as well as here in the state of New York, the federal government has yet to learn from mistakes made in the spring and mandate testing for international travelers entering the country.

“The vaccine is the weapon that will win this war and we must move quickly and efficiently to get New Yorkers vaccinated as soon they become eligible,” Governor Cuomo said. “All health care workers can now receive the vaccine and the state is working around the clock to ensure resources are in place as more and more members of the general public become eligible to receive it. While these efforts are underway, the UK strain of the virus remains highly problematic – it is here and it could complicate matters further, as it is much more transmissible. Despite all of this, the federal government continues its refusal to test all international travelers entering the country. Government is supposed to be competent, government leaders are supposed to be competent. We already saw this situation play out in the spring – have we learned nothing?”

New York is working around the clock to distribute vaccines to eligible groups as fairly and expeditiously as possible. Work is also under way to prepare for widespread vaccination of the general public once allowable under state guidelines. As part of this work, New York has worked with the public and private sectors across the state to develop a ‘retail network’ of vaccination provider sites. Similar to operations for the annual distribution of the influenza vaccine and ongoing COVID-19 testing, these sites will help ensure access to the vaccine through multiple locations in each of the state’s 10 regions. The network includes pharmacies, federally-qualified health centers, local health departments, private urgent care clinics, private doctor networks, and other sites capable of vaccinations. More sites continue to be added to the network every day.

In an effort to take pre-emptive steps to ensure this network of sites does not become immediately overwhelmed once the vaccine is available to the general public, the Governor is also encouraging essential worker groups such as police departments, fire departments, educators, and public transit organizations to begin developing plans for their workforce if possible. The more groups of essential workers able to receive vaccines through internal distribution plans, the more availability there will be for those New Yorkers seeking the vaccine through the ‘retail network.’

To further bolster these plans, New York is continuing to move forward on a number of special efforts to ensure resources are in place to facilitate widespread vaccination, especially in underserved communities. Pop-up vaccination centers will be established to facilitate public vaccinations. The state is also identifying public facilities and convention centers to also be used as vaccination centers. This includes the Javits Center, as well as SUNY and CUNY facilities. The state is also actively recruiting retired nurses, doctors and pharmacists to support vaccine administrations.

A main focus of these efforts is ensuring vaccine access in underserved communities and health care deserts. The state has already begun building Community Vaccination Kits and working with public housing officials, churches, and community centers to support these efforts and deploy kits to the appropriate locations. Each kit includes step-by-step instructions for how to set up a site, and critical supplies and equipment such as:

  • Office Supplies
  • Workstation Equipment
  • Communications Equipment
  • Cleaning Supplies
  • Lighting Equipment
  • PPE
  • Crowd/Traffic Control Equipment
  • Vials
  • Syringes
  • Room Dividers
  • Privacy Curtains