NEW YORK (WABC) -- Governor Andrew Cuomo gave a date on when the first COVID vaccine doses will be delivered to New York.
On Wednesday, Cuomo said the state will receive the vaccine from Pfizer on December 15 if all safety and efficacy approvals are granted. The doses will be enough for 170,000 New Yorkers.
NY state expects additional doses of the Pfizer vaccine and the Moderna vaccine by the end of this month.
"By the end of December, the administration suggests there will be enough to vaccinate 20 million people with two doses, which is 40 million doses," Cuomo said. "That means 6% of Americans. Gives you an idea of where we are going to be going into January, and those 6% will be prioritized, health care workers, seniors in congregate facilities. 6% of Americans having vaccinations by the beginning of January, you see how far we have to go."
The governor said they are following the CDC's recommendations on prioritizing the initial vaccine distribution to health care workers and nursing home residents and staff.
An influential government advisory panel voted 13-1 Tuesday to recommend priority be given to those groups in the first days of any coming vaccination program, when doses are expected to be very limited. The two groups encompass about 24 million Americans out of a U.S. population of about 330 million.
However, there are 85,000 nursing home residents and 130,000 nursing home staff in the state.
The first tranche of Pfizer may not cover them, but the state expects another shipment of Moderna vaccine later in the month that should make up the difference.
Cuomo warns not everyone will take it.
"What is the fall off of nursing home employees who say I'm not taking," he said. "I don't know. I think it could be significant. What's the falloff of nursing home residents who say I'm not taking one? You can't force somebody to take this vaccine. Right now I think you are going to see a significant falloff, if i have to guess."
Cuomo said the state must undertake two operations in hospital management and vaccine administration.
"This will be the largest governmental operation undertaken since World War II," he said.
Although there is a vaccine, he said there will be several challenges in the distribution process including federal funding, outreach effort, social acceptance and massive national and statewide undertaking.
Cuomo says the state panel to review the vaccine was a reaction to concerns about politicization and skepticism regarding the COVID-19 vaccine.
The governor said his goal is for New York to have the fastest, most-effective vaccination program in the United States.
"I believe this state has the capacity to do that," Cuomo said. "I believe if you look at our apparatus and ability to mobilize and work quickly and effectively. I don't think any state can beat us. I think that's what we proved during COVID. I think that's what we prove every day, doing more COVID tests than anyone else. I will do whatever I have to do to do vaccines. I will get in a car and drive all around the state doing vaccines myself. We have to build confidence in a vaccine. I'll be the first person to stand up and take the vaccine. We have a top quality team."
Cuomo also said in order to get back to a normal economy, 75%-85% of Americans have to be vaccinated.
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