Second-dose COVID vaccine supply safe, Cuomo says

ERICA MILLER/THE DAILY GAZETTE Kathy Dart, 69, of Schenectady, receives her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine from volunteer Peggy Sheaffer at SUNY Schenectady County on Monday, the first day of operation of the vaccination site at the college.

Kathy Dart, 69, of Schenectady, receives her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine from volunteer Peggy Sheaffer at SUNY Schenectady County on Monday, the first day of operation of the vaccination site at the college.

ALBANY — As of midday Monday, 91% of the first-dose COVID vaccine shipped to New York state has been injected into people’s arms, official state data indicated.

With the ongoing shortage of vaccine, and the sometimes chaotic or random nature of its distribution, some people are worried that the second part of the two-shot vaccine won’t be available when they are due to receive it. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at a news conference that the fear is unfounded.

“You will get that second dose. The federal government protects that second-dose allocation,” he said.

Cuomo offered no assurance that the availability of first doses would get better anytime soon, though. The number of doses supplied by the feds varies without warning from week to week, he said — “There’s no operational intelligence on this.”

The state, meanwhile, has opened 3,000 distribution sites, a number far too great to fully supply.

The newest is at SUNY Schenectady County Community College, which opened Monday as part of a continuing effort to use SUNY campuses as vaccination sites. In and around the Capital Region, vaccinations previously began at the University at Albany, Hudson Valley Community College and Fulton Montgomery Community College.

A sign of hope: The Biden administration plans to at least provide accurate predictions of the flow of doses to the state, Cuomo said, so they can better plan for its use.

Among those left waiting are Montgomery County and its only hospital, St. Mary’s Healthcare. County Executive Matthew Ossenfort and Public Health Director Sara Boerenko said during a Facebook Live update Monday that the county waitlist is about 3,800 names long.

St. Mary’s said its waitlist now numbers over 2,800.

“Unfortunately, due to the overwhelming amount of responses we received, and the shortage of COVID-19 vaccines, St. Mary’s made the difficult decision to not accept any more names for the vaccine waitlist, and the online form has been placed on pause at this time,” the hospital said in a prepared statement.

St. Mary’s also said it has been assured it will receive second-round doses of the vaccine to give to everyone that received first-round doses at the hospital.

The state of New York said Monday it has been allocated 1,304,050 first doses and injected 1,180,468 of them, or approximately 91%. That’s about 6% of New Yorkers, and the numbers do include doses administered through federal programs, such as at nursing homes.

This compares with 5.6% of all Americans as of Sunday afternoon, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

The CDC indicates 6.03% of New Yorkers have received the first dose, which places it 17th on the list of states and territories ranked by that metric.

However, most of the states with better rates — Alaska, West Virginia, New Mexico, Connecticut, North Dakota are highest — have much smaller populations than New York. The exception is Florida, where the number of first-dose vaccinations equalled 6.45% of the population as of Sunday.

Other large states — California, Texas, Pennsylvania, Illinois — were significantly lower than New York — 4.4% to 5.1%.


In other COVID-related developments Monday:

  • Cuomo said the state continues to show improvement in COVID transmission nearly a month after the December holidays, which as predicted were followed by an infection spike. The transmission rate has dropped back below 1.0, he said, which means each infected person is likely to infect fewer than 1.0 other people, a key threshold for gauging the strength and threat of the pandemic.
  • The statewide seven-day positive test rate, which hit 7.9% in early January, was down to 5.8% on Sunday. In that same timeframe, it has dropped from 10.1% to 6.4% in the Capital Region and 10.8% to 6.6% in the Mohawk Valley.
  • Seven-day positive rates for individual counties were: Albany 7.2%, Fulton 9.9%, Montgomery 7.3%, Rensselaer 6.7%, Saratoga 6.7%, Schenectady 5.2% and Schoharie 8.6%.
  • The official COVID death toll grew 167 to 34,242, with six new deaths in Saratoga County, five in Schenectady County, three each in Albany and Fulton counties, and one each in Columbia, Montgomery, Schoharie and Warren counties.
  • Schenectady County said it actually added 10 deaths to its list of residents lost to COVID, but they were not all new — they occurred as far back as Jan. 15. The six men and four women ranged in age from their 60s to their 100s. The county death toll now stands at 114.

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