New York :
After the authorization this Thursday by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the use of the emergency to administer the vaccine against COVID-19 developed by the Pfizer pharmaceutical, now in New York the engines of several ‘war fronts’ against the pandemic are activated, precisely when a second wave of infections and a long waiting list leaving essential workers in a fourth phase of the immunization plan.
Now, the big question arises about how many doses will arrive in the medium and long term to immunize the majority of New Yorkers, that are not part of the first priority groups of the health sector established by the Federal Administration.
Governor Andrew Cuomo said the state could receive the first deliveries of the drug this weekend. The start date of the immunization process had already been preliminarily set on Tuesday, December 15.
The allocation of the first batch of 170,000 doses will be for nursing home residents and nursing home staff, in addition to hospital care workers. Although that does not mean that it will include all health center teams. Very specific areas are required in the first phase.
“Priority should be given to professionals in the emergency room, personnel of the Intensive Care Units and those who are in charge of the pulmonology departments ”, said Cuomo.
Long waiting list
The New York authorities make it clear that the federal government is the responsible for the purchase and distribution of the drug, in addition to having how, when and to whom it should be applied. The scheme leaves thousands of essential workers and vulnerable communities on a long waiting list.
In light of this reality, Governor Cuomo and a coalition of groups sent a letter to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, Alex Azar, calling for a “fair and equitable” federal immunization program.
The letter urges the federal government to amend its plans to quickly include the communities most affected by the pandemic.
“The communities Black, Hispanic, Asian and low-income paid the highest price during COVID-19, historically neglected by health institutions. It is the responsibility of the federal government to rectify its program. The first round of vaccines will be distributed next week. We provide quick solutions “, Specifies the communication.
The Big Apple with more doses
The Big Apple is expected to receive some 72,000 doses of the first assignment, the most for any region in the state, followed by Long Island where 26,500 units will be shipped.
“Distributing this vaccine will be a difficult and intricate government operation that we have not seen before, but we are sure that this is the weapon that will win the warCuomo said.
New York will adapt to the federally designed nursing home vaccination strategy, which involves CVS and Walgreens employees inoculating residents and staff at these facilities. The same procedure as with the flu vaccine, which is scheduled to begin on December 21.
A very specific guide will be issued shortly so that there are no doubts about how hospitals should select their prioritized personnel as “high-risk”, to be vaccinated in the next few weeks.
The federal government’s vaccine distribution plan must be equitable.
The communities hit hardest by the pandemic can’t be the last to receive the vaccine.
– Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) December 10, 2020
The City awaits directions
Although a new batch of immunizations from the Moderna pharmaceutical company is expected before the end of the year, the Health authorities of New York City still do not have a clear picture about exactly how many doses will the Big Apple count in the next few months. And much less when the population outside hospitals and nursing homes will have to start to be inoculated.
Mayor Bill de Blasio in his daily press conference when asked about the progress of vaccination plans in the city said that “he is very confident in the ability of his Department of Health to distribute it effectively.” But at the same time he asserted that the real question will be how many doses are received each week and the ability to “constantly stick to that distribution plan.”
In the first steps of a process where hopes are centered to put an end to a pandemic that is returning with new powers to the Big Apple, Dr. Dave Chokshi, commissioner of the Department of Health of the City of New York (DOHMH ), said 54 of the 55 intensive care hospitals the city have the ultra-cold freezers needed to store the new Pfizer vaccine.
The only hospital that lacks storage capacity at these temperatures will wait to vaccinate patients, until the Moderna laboratory vaccine is distributed, which does not require a special freezer.
In New York City, the average number of new cases in the last seven days continues to skyrocket. Until this Wednesday they count 2,614 positive cases, when the threshold is 550. And in this same period the infection rate is 5.32%, when the curve had been kept taper for three months at less than 2%.
5 priority phases of the vaccine
According to the vaccination plan shared by the New York authorities, the 5 phases, although projections on the times in which immunizations can be completed are not specified:
- Group 1: Health workers working in critical areas, in intensive care and pulmonology services. As well as nursing home inmates and their direct care workers.
- Group 2: Police, Firefighters, Rescuers of emergency agencies, pharmacists, workers of the transport system, winemakers and the rest of the employees of the health system. Also all the people who live in locations with a high population density who are at high risk because they have pre-existing health conditions.
- Group number 3: People over 65 with a medical history of chronic diseases.
- Group 4: All other essential workers.
- Team 5: Healthy adults and children.
Immunization details in NY
- 90 sites The necessary cold storage capacities for Pfizer’s new drug have been located throughout New York State.
- 90,000 doses from the first batch They will target “high-risk” hospital staff who care for patients.
- 40 percent of the prioritized hospital staff it is estimated that they will have access to the first vaccine assignment in the coming weeks.