ALBANY – New York’s Governor says the state is in a footrace between its COVID-19 infection rate and vaccine availability.
Governor Andrew Cuomo, speaking on the anniversary of when the U.S. reported its first case of the Coronavirus on Wednesday, provided an update on the state’s vaccination process.
Cuomo says the ‘good news’ is the infection rate, what he calls a “function of people’s behavior” is currently on the decline while more people are getting vaccinated.
He says the vaccine remains in limited supply; however, more allocations will be coming.
“Johnson & Johnson may be coming online, now we hear maybe March, AstraZeneca may be coming online, more Pfizer production maybe in the second quarter, more Moderna production,” said Cuomo. “So, our distribution network is up and running, we’re just waiting on the supply. But we’re in a position that when we get the supply, we will be able to move the supply, and that’s the position we should be in and I feel good about that.”
Statewide over 1,156,000 vaccines have been administered, making up 86 percent of New York’s allotment. With 1,200 distribution sites across the state, Cuomo says New York averages 65,000 doses per day.
He explains the state expects to get 250,000 vaccines in next week’s allotment from the federal government. At this rate, Cuomo says it’ll take up to seven months to vaccinate everyone who is currently eligible for the vaccine.
“I urge the President to do whatever he can to increase the supply,” said Cuomo. “Pfizer and Moderna cannot sell, by law, to a state, I tried. Apparently, they only have what’s called an “Emergency Authorization Use,” an EAU. They’re not licensed to sell to states, it’s a very limited federal approval, so states can’t buy, private individuals can’t buy, it’s not allowed by the Pfizer-Moderna approval.”
Due to the lack of supply, the Governor is now asking points of distribution to avoid scheduling more appointments than their allocation to avoid having to cancel appointments and causing more chaos.
He says by prioritizing who gets vaccinated where, the vaccine will be distributed more fairly among the eligible groups. Allocations for each point of distribution will be given by region and the percent of the population that distribution site should serve.