New York will be sending more vaccination preparation kits to senior housing complexes and churches in an effort to ensure fairness in vaccine distributions, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Saturday.
The kits include syringes, vials, room dividers, privacy curtains, cleaning supplies, personal protective gear and other items. They also include instructions on how to set up a vaccination site.
New York deployed the first kits last week to five New York City Housing Authority senior citizen complexes and eight churches and cultural centers where nearly 4,200 people eligible to receive the vaccine were vaccinated, Cuomo said.
Kits are now being sent to four additional New York City senior complexes and eight other churches statewide, with plans to vaccine another 3,000 people at those locations by Tuesday. Locations in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Nassau County, Suffolk County, Rochester, Syracuse, Albany, and Buffalo will be receiving the kits.
The kits are part of an effort to ensure vaccinations in Black, Latino and other communities where COVID-19 has had a disproportionate impact, the governor said.
However, New Yorkers have been urged to be patient when making appointments to be vaccinated since the vaccine supply is limited. The state's vaccine supply is determined by the federal government.
More than 7 million New Yorkers have become eligible for the COVID vaccine but weekly doses supply remains below 300,000. This week New York is projected to get 250,400 doses.
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, new head of the CDC, said the government doesn't have "as many doses as we would like" and limited supply will continue to be an issue in the immediate future.
“We don’t have as many doses as we would like now for states like New York, for other states that are claiming to have run out of vaccine,” Walensky said Chris Wallace on "Fox News Sunday."
As President Joe Biden pledges to distribute 100 million COVID-19 vaccinations in his first 100 days, Walensky said "the supply is probably going to be the most limiting constraint early on."
New York started receiving doses of its week six shipment over the weekend following Cuomo's announcement the state ran through its allotment of vaccine for people getting their first of two shots.
"Yesterday we exhausted all five weeks' allocation. We are now starting to receive week six allocations, which trickle in during the week," the governor said Saturday.
In that allocation, Cuomo wasn’t including hundreds of thousands of doses being distributed to nursing home patients and staff through a federal program. And he also wasn’t including a big stockpile of doses reserved for people getting the second of the two shots they need.
Over in New Jersey, the state's vaccine dashboard shows well over half a million doses of the vaccine had been distributed by Sunday morning. At least 12 percent of the 550,000 doses given out so far have been a second dose of the vaccine.
Daily Percentage of Positive Tests by New York Region
Gov. Andrew Cuomo breaks the state into 10 regions for testing purposes and tracks positivity rates to identify potential hotspots. Here's the latest tracking data by region and for the five boroughs. For the latest county-level results statewide, click here
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been publicizing a different count for New York, saying as of Saturday that of the 2.4 million doses delivered to the state, about 1.2 million were still unused.
State-run vaccination sites have not canceled appointments, and Cuomo said he’s confident those sites will have enough vaccines to provide second doses to all who have already been vaccinated.
Many pharmacies, hospitals and other vaccine providers were still planning to hold vaccinations as scheduled in coming days.
Cuomo said New York has been administering an average of 80,000 doses a day — again, not counting vaccines given out in nursing homes. At that rate, it would take months to vaccine the more than 7 million people in the state currently eligible to get the shots.
"We now do about 80,000 dosages per day. We could do 100,000 dosages per day easily, so we're dependent on the supply. We have the distribution network, we're dependent on the supply," he said.
By the governor's count, roughly 87 percent of doses received for first vaccinations had been administered. Of the doses sent to New York meant for second vaccinations, approximately 24 percent were used by Sunday morning.