New York expands vaccinations to elderly, essential workers; Cuomo issues warning about hospital capacity

Officials say New York has used roughly half of the 900,000 doses it has received so far, but Cuomo claims it hasn't received enough to even vaccinate all health care workers.

News 12 Staff

Jan 9, 2021, 3:25 AM

Updated 1,195 days ago

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that starting next week, vaccinations will be extended to essential workers and anyone over the age of 75. He also warned about capacity levels at New York hospitals.
Cuomo says teachers, police, firefighters, transit workers and senior citizens over 75 years old will get their first chance at making appointments Monday. The governor says there will be thousands of new places you can make a reservation to eventually get the vaccine - but adds that it might take until April to complete vaccinating the group.
Officials say New York has used roughly half of the 900,000 doses it has received so far, but Cuomo claims it hasn't received enough to even vaccinate all health care workers.
"We're not pleased with the rate of distribution, so we're going to supplement the hospitals with additional networks," says Cuomo. "The larger distribution network will include private doctor networks, county health department centers, ambulatory centers, urgent care -- CityMD etc., and the pharmacy network. There are 5,000 pharmacies in the state of New York."
Dr. Adhi Sharma, the chief medical officer at Mount Sinai South Nassau Hospital, says he's glad to see the vaccine will soon be reaching more people, but thinks those working in the new distribution centers need to be prepared.
"While it was infrequent, we did have some reactions," says Sharma. "So they should all be prepared to handle the occasional reaction. Luckily most of them were short-lived, meaning people got a little light-headed after the vaccine."
Cuomo also issued a warning of his own.
"We've increased capacity and we're still climbing," says Cuomo. "If the hospital capacity continues to climb, we are going to close regions."
But amidst plenty of worry, Sharma says there is some good news.
"The projections have suggested that Jan. 15 would be when the peak would crest," says Sharma. "This week we are seeing a slight downward trend, which is very positive."


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