Coronavirus NY: Hunt for COVID vaccine continues across Tri-State

NEW YORK (WABC) -- As people lined up inside a school in Paterson and sat in their cars in a parking lot at Jones Beach on Wednesday, the hunt for the vaccine continues across the Tri-State.

While the demand is high, the supply is low.

"We are working to increase supply and increase capacity but even so it will be months before everyone who wants a vaccine will be about to get one," said Andy Slavitt with the White House COVID-19 Response Team.

The White House COVID-19 Response Team announced the federal government will deliver 10 million new vaccine doses weekly to states for at least the next three weeks.

"We are passing doses directly along to in real time as they order them," Slavitt said.

That will allow states to better plan for distribution of the vaccine.

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"It's not just the increase which we desperately need and we need more, but a three-week window as opposed to one week to the next is a big deal," Gov. Phil Murphy said.

But it's not a big enough boost to supply.

"Now you have 7 million people they are eligible for the vaccine but the vaccine is scarce," said Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

It's simple math. In New York, 7 million people are eligible now including health care workers, essential front linw workers and people over the age of 65.

Currently, New York State is only getting about 290,000 first doses a week.

"You're still talking about multiple weeks before you can cover the existing eligible population," Cuomo said.

Right now, if you get the first dose, you're guaranteed a second dose that is kept in reserve.

Mayor Bill de Blasio suggested using up all the vaccines as they arrive to give more people at least first doses..

"I think it makes a lot more sense to give people the first dose, use that supply, reserve, to give people the first dose and then backfill with future shipments," de Blasio said.

Doctors are skeptical.

"We don't have data that shows partial protection lasts," a doctor said. "If we just gave out the first vaccine and within two months, it was useless, because it wore out so to speak, it won't do anyone any good. The data that got these vaccines approved is two shots, 95% efficacy, and I think we gotta stick with that."

New Jersey needs more shots too. In the Garden State, in addition to the health care workers, essential front lien workers and people over the age of 65, residents with certain medical conditions, including smokers, are eligible for the vaccine.

That is a pool of more than 4 million people, and right now, New Jersey only receives about 116,000 vaccinations a week.

"We, like every other state, we need greatly increased production and delivery we just need the doses to make our program run as it has been purposely built to run," Murphy said.

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