NEW YORK (WABC) -- New York City is laying out its plan to vaccinate residents from COVID-19, beginning with high-risk health care workers and nursing home residents and staff.
The Pfizer vaccine will arrive in the city on December 15, followed by the Moderna vaccine on December 22. The city says they are working closely with the state and the federal government on the vaccine distribution plan.
"It will obviously take months," Mayor Bill de Blasio said. He did note, however, that more doses will be arriving in the city weekly.
The mayor added that there will be a great effort after health care workers and nursing homes to get the vaccine to the 27 New York City neighborhoods most deeply affected by the coronavirus.
"The challenge of turning a vaccine into a vaccination is a formidable one," Health Commissioner Dr. David Chokshi said.
The city is prepared to receive and store 320,000 of the vaccines at -80 degrees Celsius and millions more in cold storage, Dr. Chokshi said, and with the help of hospitals, the city can store 1.5 million doses of the vaccine.
On Thursday, the city's 7-day positivity averaged 5.19%, tipping over the threshold of 5%. De Blasio said the city is officially in its second wave of the virus.
"It's quite clear at this point that this second wave, unfortunately, is right upon us," he said. "We are seeing a different reality in the hospitals for sure than in the spring. And this is a very, very important point. Even though that number has gone up, it's still a very different reality in our hospitals than what we experienced in the spring. The ability of our hospitals to deal with patients is greatly improved. The ability of patients to survive this disease is greatly improved. We are not seeing the kind of stress on our ICUs anywhere near what we saw in the past. But we're extremely concerned and vigilant to make sure that we protect our hospitals and we can protect people's lives."
Meanwhile, concern that America is currently ill-prepared and ill-equipped to deliver any of the COVID-19 vaccines to Black communities, Black leaders announced the creation of a task force in New York to both ensure the vaccine is readily accessible to Black New Yorkers and address concerns in Black communities about the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine.
"The nonprofit community, as well as relevant stakeholders, will be part of this process," said Jennifer Jones Austin, CEO and Executive Director of FPWA. "Our goal is to make this process and plan as comprehensive and useful as possible. Our goal here is to save lives."
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