Hospitals step up COVID-19 vaccine distribution after governor’s threat

Hospitals step up COVID-19 vaccine distribution after governor’s threat
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s threat to hospitals that they need to use their COVID-19 vaccine allotments by the end of the week or lose those doses and face fines appears to have paid off. (Source: WWNY)

ALBANY, N.Y. (WWNY) - Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s threat to hospitals that they need to use their COVID-19 vaccine allotments by the end of the week or lose those doses and face fines appears to have paid off.

“Hospitals are doing a better job,” Cuomo said at a virtual news conference Wednesday. On Monday, Cuomo threatened to cut off hospitals’ vaccine supplies and impose fines up to $100,000 if they failed to use up their allotted doses by Friday.

He said over the past three weeks hospitals were giving an average of about 11,000 shots per day.

In the past three days, he said, the average has been 31,000 per day.

“The vaccination rate has tripled since Monday,” he said, “so I’m glad they heard.

But it’s important to keep up the pace, he said, to make sure health care workers on the frontline are inoculated.

“Performance has increased,” he said. “We want it to stay increased more.”

Carthage Area Hospital was one of those in the bottom tier. The hospital has distributed 39 percent of its vaccines, the 10th lowest in the state.

The governor expressed concern about various new mutated variants of the coronavirus that are cropping up across the world, including a highly contagious version from the United Kingdom.

He said he’s calling on federal officials to require all travelers coming to the United States to get tested or to allow the state to screen all overseas travelers when they arrive at New York airports.

“We don’t want tens of thousands of people coming through our airports every day from countries around the world who are not tested,” he said.

Cuomo said the federal government and its vaccine suppliers are working at increasing supply.

So far, the state has received 950,000 doses for the 2.1 million health care workers, nursing home residents, and nursing home staff that are in the first phase of the vaccination programs.

Also, he said, the next step in the process is vaccinating 5 million essential workers and 1.3 million people over 75 years old.

There are other vaccines that are coming online,” he said. “The supply will go up.”

He said it’s difficult to predict when people can get a vaccine “until we know what the vaccine actually is going to be.”

Right now, he said, it looks as is largescale general population distribution will start in March or April.

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