North Country gets ready as NY prepares to distribute COVID vaccine

WWNY North Country gets ready as NY prepares to distribute COVID vaccine

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - Governor Andrew Cuomo gave people a look at the COVID-19 vaccine Thursday. The state could have the first round soon and the North Country is getting ready for the roll out.

“This is a box of vaccines.”

Governor Andrew Cuomo Thursday explained how the COVID-19 vaccine will be shipped and noted it has to be stored in cold temperatures to stay effective.

“It comes wrapped in dried ice,” he said.

This comes a day after he announced when the federal government could be sending the first round.

“The fist vaccine delivery to New York will be 170,000 (doses). If all safety and efficacy approvals are granted, those doses will arrive on December 15,” he said.

The north country is preparing for that day.

Lewis County Manager Ryan Piche says county Public Health and Lewis County Health System are state-approved as vaccine distribution points.

“When those vaccines start becoming available, we know that Lewis County is in the queue and we will be able to get them for our residents as soon as we can,” he said.

In St. Lawrence County, Board of Legislators Chair Joe Lightfoot says a distribution plan is in the works.

A vaccine plan from November lists St. Lawrence County Correctional Facility and the county human services building as places people will be able to get the vaccine.

Federal and state guidance calls for the first wave to go to healthcare personnel and residents in long-term care facilities.

“I would think we’ve got an obligation to provide it to the people who are most susceptible to this,” said Lightfoot.

Piche says Lewis County still has work to do on its plan, but it could be some time before the vaccine is even widely available.

“It’s exciting. It’s definitely progress. But, it’s going to be a slow roll out and I believe it’s going to be very targeted,” he said.

Cuomo says the state will review the FDA’s approval of the vaccine to build people’s confidence in it.

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