ALBANY — The COVID vaccine shortage in New York will get worse before it gets better, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday.
The state has been receiving 300,000 doses a week from the federal government but got only 250,000 this week to hand out next week.
Meanwhile, the number of New Yorkers eligible to be immediately vaccinated jumped to 7 million this week, which means up to 14 million doses of the two-shot vaccine are needed. And 1,200 sites in what is planned to be a network of more than 8,000 dispensing sites are now operating statewide, which works out to just 200 doses per site.
Simple math: There’s not enough vaccine for everyone, nor even enough to keep a steady and predictable supply rolling to the drug stores, hospitals and health departments charged with administering it. And a multitude of complaints suggest that the distribution of what little vaccine the state does have is not going smoothly or efficiently.
Those sites that do a better job of administering vaccine quickly and efficiently will be given preference in future allocations, Cuomo said during a news conference Friday, but added: “No one gets all they need.”
As of Friday morning, 827,715 doses of vaccine had been administered statewide, he said, 731,285 of them first-round shots.
That’s 74% of all first-round doses delivered to the state, Cuomo said, calling it a very good percentage compared with similar states.
Cuomo also gave an update on how the vaccination campaign is going within the state’s 10 regions:
- The North Country, the most widely spread and rugged region in New York, has put the greatest percentage of its allocated vaccine into shoulders: 90%. The Capital Region is second at 87%, the Mohawk Valley third at 83%. New York City, the most densely populated and compact region, is dead last at 60%.
- Percentage of hospital workers vaccinated ranged from 59% to 71% across the state’s regions. The Capital Region was 65%, with Glens Falls Hospital, Albany Med and Saratoga Hospital tops at 86%, 81% and 69%. Lagging were Samaritan, Ellis and St. Peter’s at 41%, 56% and 61%. The Mohawk Valley was 60%, with Cobleskill Regional, Nathan Littauer and St. Mary’s Healthcare among the top performers at 62.6%, 61.6% and 61.3%.
- Across the Capital Region, just 12% of hospital staff have declined the vaccine, lowest percentage of any region. In the Mohawk Valley, 28% of hospital workers have declined the vaccine, second-highest percentage of any region.
“Vaccination performance is uneven by region, and we study these numbers to see what we can learn, but you see quite a variance. Some of it is explainable, some of it isn’t,” Cuomo said.
He added that healthcare workers are a critical population to vaccinate, as they are the most essential people during a pandemic but especially vulnerable to getting infected and especially capable of becoming super spreaders if they are sick without symptoms.
“We’ve only done 60 percent of the healthcare workers statewide. That is not good enough,” Cuomo said.
In other COVID-related news Friday:
- The Public Employees Federation sued the state and three of its agencies — Civil Service, Corrections and Community Supervision and Mental Health — on the grounds the state has unfairly denied members of the union paid COVID-19 quarantine leave. PEF said 85% of its members successfully worked from home in the first wave of the pandemic but 55% to 65% are now working in their office at state request during the second wave.
- The Fulton County Public Health Department urged people to not register for vaccination at multiple locations in hopes of improving their odds of getting a shot; this deprives other eligible people the chance to be vaccinated.
- Statewide, 183 new COVID-related deaths were reported, including Saratoga County, 6; Albany County, 3; Schenectady County, 2; and Montgomery, Rensselaer, Warren and Washington counties, 1 each.
- A record 324,671 tests were administered Thursday, far surpassing the previous one-day high, 258,031. The seven-day positive rate was 6.7% statewide; 8.7% in the Mohawk Valley (highest among the ten regions); 7.9% in the Capital Region; 8.6% in Albany County; 12.7% in Fulton County; 10.3% in Montgomery County; 7.7% in Rensselaer County; 8.8% in Saratoga County; 7.2% in Schenectady County; and 10.5% in Schoharie County. Most of these rates have been declining for most of the past week.
- Statewide, 8,808 COVID patients were hospitalized, including 525 in the Capital Region and 292 in the Mohawk Valley.
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