Cuomo unveils vaccine plan for New Yorkers, including prioritization phases

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Monday, October 19, 2020
What to know about New York's COVID vaccine plan
Governor Cuomo announced a new plan for vaccine administration for New York State residents to promote trust and ensure safety in the vaccine.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state's Vaccine Administration Plan prioritizes high-risk populations and essential health care workers, but there are still many questions that remain about how the vaccine will be distributed.

Governor Cuomo announced a new plan for vaccine administration for New York State residents to promote trust and ensure safety in the vaccine

New York will create a task force to test and administer the vaccine prior to a statewide recommendation in an effort to promote widespread vaccination.

New York state will implement a phased system to determine who gets the vaccine first, depending on the occupation, high/low-risk concerns and location relative to the daily average tests.

If a vaccine is approved by December, Cuomo says crucial planning on the state level starts now, but he stressed that the White House must give more guidance.

The National Governors Association, which Cuomo chairs, released a list of 36 questions from the nation's governors to the White House, anticipating the states will be responsible for vaccine distribution.

RELATED | Governor Cuomo sends letter to President Trump requesting meeting on vaccine plan

The questions cover topics such as funding, allocation and supply chain as well as communication and information requirements.

"This is a massive undertaking, this is a larger operational undertaking, I would argue, than anything we have done during COVID to day," Cuomo said.

Cuomo warned of a repeat from the early days of the pandemic, when states were competing for supplies and resources.

He said many questions still need to be answered. For example, vaccines need to be stored at -80 degrees, and there is a question of whether there are even enough refrigerated storage units.

The governor warned it will be a daunting task. New York state has administered 12.9 million tests in the past seven months. It now must administer 40 million vaccines because the vaccine will likely require two doses, one month apart.

"We will do whatever we have to do, that's who we are, that's who we've always been, and we will do it," Cuomo said. "As soon as I figure out what they want us to do, or what the task will require, we will do it. We have to set up at schools, gyms, Javits Center, we have to use the National Guard, whatever we have to do, we will do."

Cuomo said the state has a draft plan that they are working on, but the draft plan is based on "very sketchy information."

"My issue is, what do we have to do, federal government, and what are you going to do and what do you expect the states have to do... are we going to get one million doses at a time, five million, do they all come in one week, over several weeks, do we have to find the refrigeration equipment, do you provide the refrigeration equipment? You need the answers before we can come up with a real plan," he said.

In other news, New York state is set to open ski resorts on November 6 at 50% capacity with all social distancing measures.

WATCH: Eyewitness to a Pandemic

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