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Covid-19 Vaccine: We’ll first prioritize nursing home residents, staff, high-risk hospital workers, Governor Cuomo says

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New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo has said Wednesday December 9 that the first batch of the COVID-19 vaccine for the state could arrive as soon as this weekend if it is approved by Thursday.

Governor Cuomo said that the first priority will be for nursing home residents and staff, and high-risk hospital workers.

The State has guidance for which patient-facing staff at hospitals should fall in the “high-risk” category, such as emergency room workers, ICU staff and pulmonary department staff. Hospitals will select which of their workers get vaccinated.

The first shipment will be allocated based on the number of healthcare workers and nursing home residents in region. 

New York City is estimated to receive 72,000 of the first 170,000 doses that are initially expected.

The State has established 90 regional distribution centers that are capable of cold storage. 

Governor Cuomo said staff at every hospital in the state, regardless of storage capabilities, will have access to the first allocation.

The 90 locations will receive enough doses for 90,000 patient-facing hospital workers, which is 40 percent of New York hospitals’ total patient-facing workforce of 225,000.

Governor Cuomo said, if all goes well, he expects all “high-risk” staff to receive a vaccine by the end of week two.

After all “high-risk” healthcare workers, vaccination will move to all long-term and congregate care staff and residents, then EMS and other healthcare workers. Essential workers, and the general population will then follow, starting with those at high risk.

The State has opted into the federal program where CVS and Walgreens employees will vaccinate nursing home residents and staff in the facilities, similar to existing programs for the flu vaccine. Deliveries for this program are expected next week, with a start date for vaccinations on December 21.

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