COVID vaccine rollout strategy to top NYC Council hearing

Coronavirus update for NYC

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Friday, December 4, 2020
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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is urging public school principals to offer as much in-person learning as possible.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Representatives from New York-based Pfizer will answer questions at a New York City Council hearing amid a larger discussion on how the city plans to roll out the COVID-19 vaccine.

Topping the list of issues are logistics and who will get the vacations first.

On Thursday, Governor Andrew Cuomo showed off the intricate packaging needed for a vaccine that must be kept at 94 degrees below zero.

It comes wrapped in dry ice.

RELATED: Gov. Cuomo announces COVID vaccine delivery date for New York

The state is expecting enough doses for 170,000 people on December 15. The first batch expected to go to healthcare workers and nursing homes.

The city says 50 hospitals have enough specialized freezer space to store 1.5 million doses.

"We are working very hard to be ready for the distribution and training people on the distribution to make sure it's all done correctly," Cuomo said. "But this is the weapon that is going to win the war."

At Friday's City Council Health Committee hearing, we can expect questions about which neighborhoods will get the earliest access.

Mayor Bill de Blasio says distribution will be based on need, not on who has the most money.

"We are going to focus on the people who have the greatest needs," said Mayor Bill de Blasio. "We are going to focus on those 27 neighborhoods that were most deeply affected by the coronavirus..... We're not going to allow the vaccine just to

go to the highest bidder, but to actually go to who needs it most."

Talks continue about who will be considered an essential worker..

The city plans to survey New Yorkers in the coming days on where they feel the most comfortable receiving the vaccination; the local doctor, a neighborhood clinic, or hospital.

RELATED: '2nd wave...upon us': Mayor lays out NYC's COVID vaccination plan

The rush to produce a vaccine hit a snag when Pfizer cut in half its projections for how many initial doses it can pump out, from 100 million, to just 50 million.

The company blamed production problems, which it says have now been fixed.

As New York begins to detail rollout strategies, Connecticut and New Jersey are outlining similar distribution plans.

All appear to follow CDC guidelines, which call for healthcare workers to get the vaccine first, followed by residents and staff at long-term care facilities and first responders.

Most of the general public will have to wait a few months.

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