© 2024 WSHU
NPR News & Classical Music
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Cuomo: Vaccines Could Come As Early As The Weekend

Covid-19 Vaccine
Ted S. Warren

Governor Andrew Cuomo offered more details of New York’s COVID-19 vaccination program, saying he expects a state panel to approve the first round of shots by this Friday.

Cuomo said a state panel will still review the FDA’s expected authorization for emergency use of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines on Friday, but he expects the 170,000 initial doses to be available as early as this weekend.

The state will prioritize heath care workers in high risk settings, like ICUs and emergency rooms. The vaccines, some of which require super cold storage, will be available at 90 hospitals and other faculties around the state equipped to keep them frozen at sub zero temperatures.

Next on the list are nursing home residents and staff and those who live at other congregant health care facilities.

The state has opted in to a federal program in which pharmacies, including CVS and Walgreens, will administer the vaccines in nursing homes.

Cuomo said that could begin as early as December 21.

“We do expect to have enough cover all residents and all staff,” Cuomo said.

The governor said he remains concerned that the vaccine be equitably distributed to Black and Brown communities where the death rate from COVID-19 has been higher, and has been trying to convince the federal Health and Human Services agency to make a special effort.

“The fairness of the vaccine is paramount,” said Cuomo, who said African-Americans have died of the disease at two times the number of whites, and Latinos are one and a half times more likely to pass away from the coronavirus.

“We have to make sure that this nation understands that we can’t make the same mistake twice,” the governor said.

Cuomo said undocumented immigrants who receive a vaccine will not have to release any personal data that might trigger deportation. He said the CDC agreed that personal information, like Social Security numbers, are not needed from people who receive the vaccine.

The governor said the post Thanksgiving surge in infections is resulting in higher rates of infection in recent days, and he said on Friday he will announce a new plan for restrictions to help contain the virus.

Karen has covered state government and politics for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 New York and Connecticut stations, since 1990. She is also a regular contributor to the statewide public television program about New York State government, New York Now. She appears on the reporter’s roundtable segment, and interviews newsmakers.