N.Y. Seeking More Vaccine Supply Ahead of Distribution Increase

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New York is talking to the federal government about an increase in its weekly 300,000-dose vaccine supply as it prepares to boost distribution, Governor Andrew Cuomo said.

The state enrolled 3,762 distribution sites, of which 636 are activated and giving Covid-19 vaccines to health-care workers. So far, only about 900,000 vaccines have been distributed for a cohort of 2.1 million health-care workers, Cuomo said Tuesday at a virus briefing.

“You’d need another four weeks of allocations before you can get out of health-care workers, roughly, roughly, before you finish 1A and then move to 1B,” Cuomo said, describing the state’s tiered distribution system. The 1B category includes essential workers and members of the general public over the age of 75, he said.

Cuomo said the vaccine will be administered at convention centers, colleges, churches and community centers, as well as pop-up sites. Teachers unions, police and fire departments and mass-transit systems will be asked to distribute their own vaccines to alleviate the burden on systems dealing with the general public, the governor said.

“To the extent we can have the essential workers use their own employees or their own health-system provider to do their own vaccines, that removes a burden from the retail system, if you will, it removes them from the hospital system,” the governor said.

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Cuomo also expressed concern about the variant of the virus first detected in England. New York has found one case of the variant, in Saratoga Springs. Preliminary studies suggest the variant is as much as 70% more transmissible than other Covid-19 strains and is contributing to a spike in cases in the U.K.

“The U.K. strain is highly problematic and it could be a game-changer,” Cuomo said.

He called for the federal government to mandate Covid-19 testing for people flying in from other countries.

“Not a travel ban, just mandatory testing,” he said. “We have gone through this.”

Of the 152,402 Covid-19 tests conducted on Monday in New York, 8.31% or 12,666 were positive. There were 149 fatalities, and 8,590 hospitalizations, up 339 from the day prior. The number of New Yorkers hospitalized for the virus has doubled in the past month.

As of Jan. 4, about 300,000 residents had been vaccinated. Cuomo didn’t provide an updated number on Tuesday.

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