ALBANY — A draft COVID-19 Vaccinations Administration Program has been developed by the Governor Andrew Cuomo administration to plan priority levels for who would receive the vaccination once it is ready.
Cuomo announced the State Department of Health has released a draft program that serves as an initial framework for ensuring the safe and effective distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine in New York.
Cuomo said the draft plan is designed to be flexible and account for multiple variables and scenarios regarding vaccine availability, timeline for vaccine approval, delineation of federal and state responsibilities, funding, supply chain needs, and allocation requirements.
Under the proposed draft, Phase One would administer the vaccine to healthcare workers (clinical and non-clinical) in patient care settings (ICU, ED, EMS top priority), long-term care facility workers who regularly interact with residents and most at-risk long-term care facility patients.
Phase Two includes first responders (fire, police, national guard), teachers/school staff (in-person instructions), childcare providers, public health workers, other essential frontline workers who regularly interact with public (pharmacists, grocery store workers, transit employees, etc.) or maintain critical infrastructure, other long-term care facility patients and those living in other congregate settings and people in the general population deemed particularly high risk due to comorbidities and health conditions.
Phase Three would be individuals over age 65 and people under 65 with high-risk conditions.
Phase Four is all other essential workers. And Phase Five is all remaining healthy adults and children.
The Governor’s directive does not clarify whether the vaccine will be mandatory.
“We are coming up with a plan on many presumptions. We don’t know how many doses we’re going to get. We don’t know what vaccine we’re going to get. We don’t know when we’re going to get it. The state will have a statewide vaccination plan. We will do it in concert with the federal government. The federal government is in charge of producing the actual vaccine and distributing the vaccines,” Cuomo said. “States cannot do this on their own. Period. This is a massive undertaking. This is a larger operational undertaking than anything we have done under COVID to date. This is a more complicated undertaking and task. And we need the federal government to be a competent partner with this state and with every state.”