New York expects to receive its first 170,000 doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine from the federal government by mid-December, Governor Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday as he expressed doubt about the distribution of the shot throughout the state.
“We expect, if all safety and efficacy approvals are granted, those first doses will arrive by Dec. 15,” Cuomo said during an Albany press briefing.
The Empire State also expects additional allocations of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine and initial allocations of drug company Moderna’s vaccine this month, Cuomo said.
On Monday, Moderna applied to the US Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorization of its coronavirus vaccine, while Pfizer and BioNTech filed their application with the FDA earlier last month for authorization of their COVID-19 vaccine.
The Manhattan-based drugmaker and the German biotech firm were the first to seek emergency use authorization in the US for their COVID-19 inoculation, which was 95 percent effective. Moderna said its coronavirus shot was 94.1 percent effective in a late-stage clinical study.
Nursing home residents and healthcare workers will get the vaccine first, which requires two doses, Cuomo said.
By the end of December, the available doses of the coronavirus vaccine nationwide should be enough to vaccinate 6 percent of Americans, the governor added.
Despite the hopeful news, Cuomo explained there will be major difficulties in distributing the vaccine within the state due to lack of federal funding and skepticism about the shot.
“The vaccination program is really the end game here,” said Cuomo, who raised the questions of how “fair” and “inclusive” the vaccine program will be, “how many people partake in the vaccine,” and “how much the federal government provides for a state.”