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ALBANY – New York Governor Andrew Cuomo gave a preview of how Pfizer will ship its COVID-19 vaccine during a briefing in Albany on Thursday afternoon.
The Governor says that distribution of the vaccine will happen in the next couple of weeks and New York State will be very aggressive in making it available to residents.
During the briefing, Cuomo showed the public what the packaging for vaccines would look like.
The vials for the vaccines are made from Corning Glass. Cuomo says that one vial would have five doses in it. One tray can hold up to 195 vials, which would be about 975 doses in each tray.
The whole package holds five trays, which would roughly be 5,000 doses. The packages also have GPS tracking devices and thermal monitors attached.
Cuomo says this is so they know where the packages are at all times and if the package is at the correct temperature.
Cuomo said this is a complicated procedure and would go like this:
- One box can only be opened up to two times per day. Each time, they can only be open for 60 to 90 seconds.
- Once you take a vial out, it has to thaw for about 30 minutes at room temperature.
- Once it thaws, the vial gets diluted and sits for two hours.
- Once that is complete, they will have six hours to administer the doses inside each vial.
Someone who wants the vaccine would need to get two doses. The second dose would be administered “about 21 days later,” according to Cuomo.
Cuomo also said that the vaccine “isn’t really effective” until after the second dosage is completed.
“It is real and we need people to start to focus on it,” Cuomo said. “I want New Yorkers to start to think about it seriously.”
Cuomo also gave an update on COVID-19 numbers across New York. The state as a whole has a seven-day average 4.12% positivity rate and is doing better than almost every single state in the U.S.
He says that there are about 53,000 hospital beds in the state and if needed, that can be increased to 75,000 beds. Currently, about 35,000 of the 53,000 beds are in use and 4,063 of those beds are being used by COVID-19 patients.
When it comes to ICU beds, there are a total of 5,976 in the state. Right now, there are 2,144 ICU beds available and 377 of those in use are being used by COVID-19 patients.
At the state’s peak, 19,000 people were hospitalized with COVID-19. The governor said that the numbers have improved and hospital treatment has changed dramatically since March.
Cuomo says that if a hospital system in the state runs into a problem with staffing, equipment, or beds, then they can get help from different hospital systems.
New York State will also be reopening the rent aid program and expanding eligibility beyond current rent and legislation by executive order.
“Washington should pass ‘first down payment’ $908 billion legislation,” Cuomo said. He is urging lawmakers to get something passed before they leave for Christmas.
New York asked for a $500 billion state and local package. The current bill that is being worked on has $160 billion, which isn’t enough. But, Cuomo says that “something is better than nothing.”
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