Following a speedy approval under the visionary Operation Warp Speed by President Donald Trump’s administration, and the Food and Drug Administration, on Friday, the nation will see its first doses being administered to health care workers this week. The first shipment of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine will reach New York today, and health-care workers could be getting their shots within hours of arrival.
After months of battling the vicious disease, New York will finally be receiving its first batch of 170,000 doses — 72,000 coming in from a Pfizer facility in Michigan. Tweeting about the progress of the vaccine, Governor Andrew Cuomo, who was earlier skeptical of the vaccine being safe, posted a video of the trucks carrying the shipment saying, “Hope is on the way, and it’s departing from Kalamazoo, Michigan. We are getting closer to the finish line.”
As per the vaccine distribution plan that was proposed in October, health-care workers and nursing-home residents will be the first to get the shots. According to the five-phased plan, first responders, teachers, and other essential frontline workers who regularly interact with the public will be inoculated in phase 2, followed by those 65 and people who are at high risk of serious illness. All other essential workers will be in phase 4. Amidst this plan, the general public may not be able to get vaccinated until “the beginning of February,” Cuomo said at a press conference last week.\
According to Cuomo, the first shipment is anticipated to flow to 90 ultra-cold-storage sites statewide, considering the crucial storage-factor of the vaccine. Forty-four of the locations are in the city and cover 54 hospitals where the vaccine will be administered, and apart from these, doctors’ offices and pharmacies can also enroll with the Health Department to distribute the vaccine. Under a federal program, CVS and Walgreens have been tapped to vaccinate residents and staff at nursing homes.
As of today, two workers from the state’s largest health-care provider, Northwell Health, are expected to be vaccinated during a press conference at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in Queens, and officials will also be setting up a “vaccine command center” across the street from City Hall to report on the distribution process and build trust with the community about the vaccine.