Cuomo looks to speed up COVID vaccinations, adds new distribution networks

Cuomo looks to speed up COVID vaccinations, adds new distribution networks
Governor Andrew Cuomo (Source: WWNY)

ALBANY, N.Y. (WWNY) - To speed up COVID-19 vaccinations around the state, more resources will be used to help hospitals get shots in eligible people’s arms.

Governor Andrew Cuomo said Friday that new distribution networks will be added.

“We’re not pleased with the rate of distribution so we’re going to supplement the hospitals with additional networks,” said Cuomo.

Hospitals have been the primary source of vaccinations around New York and will continue to administer shots.

Right now, doses are available only to people eligible under Phase 1A, which covers high-risk healthcare workers, nursing home residents and staff and others in the healthcare field.

Cuomo said 37 percent of the 1A population in the North Country region has been vaccinated to date - that’s the highest percentage in the state. The lowest is 13 percent in New York City.

The governor said things need to speed up, which is why the state is now recruiting and organizing thousands of new providers to include private doctor networks, county health departments and urgent care facilities.

He also said 1,200 pharmacies will begin ramping up next week to issue shots.

Cuomo signed an executive order to expand the eligible pool of trainees who can administer vaccinations to include licensed practical nurses, emergency medical technicians, dentists, midwives, podiatrists and more.

Cuomo announced the additional providers will begin accepting reservations for vaccinations when a new website goes online on Monday.

It’s important to note the vaccine is still not available to much of the general public.

The network will give shots to people eligible under Phases 1A and 1B, which includes first responders, education and public safety workers, and people age 75 and older.

He asked large union groups, such as police, firefighter and teacher unions, to organize their own vaccinations if possible.

If they are capable, the unions will receive a weekly allocation from the local health department, Cuomo said.

Earlier in the week, some hospitals struggled to meet Cuomo’s vaccination goals and the governor threatened the hospitals with fines and making them return unused COVID vaccines.

The governor said Friday that most hospitals stepped up the pace of vaccinations. He never mentioned fines or returning vaccine doses.

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