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3 state-run vaccination sites now open in NYS

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Moses Kuwema 

Governor Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday announced the first three state-run vaccination sites were now open and vaccinating eligible New Yorkers against the COVID-19 virus. 

The sites – the Jacob K. Javits Center, Westchester County Center and New York State Fair Expo Center – all opened on Wednesday, January 13 at 8 a.m. and vaccinations are by appointment only. 

To determine eligibility and schedule an appointment to receive their first dose, New Yorkers can utilize the state's 'Am I Eligible' app or call the New York State Vaccination Hotline at 1-833-NYS-4VAX (1-833-697-4829). 

Appointments to receive the second dose at these sites are scheduled in-person after receiving the first dose. 

New Yorkers are urged not to attempt to book their second appointment online.

Sites at Jones Beach and SUNY Albany will also open on January 14 and 15, respectively, with more vaccination sites to be announced in the coming days. 

New York State's vaccine supply is determined by the federal government. Over 7 million New Yorkers are now eligible for the COVID vaccine, but the state only receives 300,000 doses per week from the federal government. 

Due to the federal government's limited allocation, appointments have filled up quickly. 

People are advised to call their local health department, pharmacy, doctor or hospital for additional information and to schedule appointments. 

"Our singular focus is getting shots into arms and with the opening of these state-run sites today, we are doing just that," Governor Cuomo said. 

"We are making the vaccine available based on federal guidance and are continuing to push it out the door quickly and efficiently, but due to the federal government's limited allocation, appointments are filling up fast. 

"At the end of the day, this is a supply issue and we need the federal government to provide us with more vaccine as quickly as possible because there is simply not enough and this is the weapon that will win the war."

Since federal supply severely limits the ability to distribute vaccine, New Yorkers are encouraged to remain patient and are advised not to show up at vaccination sites without an appointment. 

New York's vast distribution network and large population of eligible individuals far exceed the vaccine supply coming from the federal government, which is arriving at a rate of approximately 300,000 doses per week. As such, eligible New Yorkers should be prepared to receive an appointment date as far as 14 weeks or further in the future. 

To further accelerate the vaccination rate of priority health care workers, and begin the vaccination of newly eligible New Yorkers. New York has established a network of distribution sites that will supplement the work being done in hospitals to prevent any one hospital from becoming overburdened. 

This network includes the five state-run sites opening this week, as well as 15 more which will be announced in the coming days. This new network will also utilize doctors' offices, Federally-Qualified Health Centers, county health departments, ambulatory centers and pharmacies to get doses in the arms of eligible New Yorkers. 

More than 1,200 pharmacies have already committed to participating in this network, with nearly 400 scheduled to come on-line this week. Pharmacies will be provided vaccines for New Yorkers aged 65 and older, while hospitals will continue vaccinating 1a healthcare workers, and local health departments and union-organized efforts will serve essential workers in 1b. 

And Governor Cuomo has said three additional cases of the UK variant have been identified in Warren County, bringing the total number of cases in New York to 15. 

Specifically, four cases in Saratoga County and two cases in Warren County have been identified as part of the cluster connected to a jewelry store in Saratoga Springs. 

Three additional cases in Warren County are under investigation for their link to this cluster, but have yet to be confirmed. A second cluster has also been identified and includes two cases in Suffolk County, two cases from Nassau County and one from Queens. The final case was identified in Manhattan and is not connected to either cluster.

"We're dealing with high numbers of COVID cases across the state as we move through the dark days of winter, and although I understand COVID fatigue has set in, we need New Yorkers to remember that we aren't out of the woods yet," Governor Cuomo said. 

"The vaccine is the weapon that ends the war, but we're locked in a footrace between its quick distribution and the spread of new cases. New Yorkers can get through this together, but it will require a willingness to take precautions not just for themselves, but for others. 

"Wash your hands, wear a mask, and stay socially distanced. New York State is working to expand testing capacity and hospital capacity, but it will take all of us to get to the light at the end of the tunnel."

On Tuesday, a total of 196,868 tests results were reported and 14,577 came out positive representing a positivity rate of 7.40 percent. A 165 COVID-19 related deaths were recorded while the number of patient hospitalization stood at 8,929 while newly admitted patients were 1,116. The number of ICU patients was 1,501 with 924 being in ICU with intubation.

In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio said 279 new hospitlizations were recorded on Tuesday, 4,855 new COVID-19 cases representing a positivity rate of 8.39 percent during the seven day average.

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