ALBANY, N.Y. (WWNY) - New York state’s distribution system will soon outpace the supply of COVID-19 vaccines it’s receiving from the federal government.
The state, Gov. Andrew Cuomo says, has been receiving about 300,000 doses a week, or about 1.2 million per month.
And because everyone needs to be vaccinated twice, the state needs 40 million doses
“Obviously, it’s a very long timeline at this supply rate, so the supply rate has to increase,” he said.
He said the federal government can procure more doses from the two existing vaccine suppliers and it can fast-track approval of other vaccines in development.
“We hope, pray, and expect that the supply from the federal government will increase,” he said, “but we need it to increase.”
Right now, he said, health care workers have priority, but the state has so far received only 900,000 doses for its 1.2 million health care workers.
Hospitals are in the process of vaccinating their employees, he said, but some are lagging behind.
After health care workers, come essential workers and people 75 and older, he said, “then you’re dealing with members of the public and then we’re going to shift from the focus on the hospitals to what we call the retail network.”
He said the state has already set up a network of 3,700 pharmacies, federally qualified health centers, county health departments, urgent care clinics, private doctor networks, and community centers.
“We’ll be supplying all of these outlets with the vaccine to do the distribution when we get to the general public,” Cuomo said, “so the distribution system is going to outpace our supply system right now.”
The seven-county north country region has 150 of these outlets set up so far. Twenty-five of them have vaccines already for eligible health care workers that don’t get shots at hospitals.
“The distribution system I’ve outlined can deliver millions of doses,” he said. “Again, we’re getting 300,000 per week and we have to wait for that to increase.”