What would a COVID-19 vaccine rollout look like in the Capital Region


CAPITAL REGION, N.Y. (NEWS10) — What would a rollout for the coronavirus vaccine look like for the Capital Region? NEWS10 ABC’s Anya Tucker spoke with two experts to gain some insight into what that might mean.

Dr. Eli Rosenberg is an associate professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at University at Albany. He is also an advisor on Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Vaccine Distribution and Implementation Task Force. He’s keeping an eye on drug manufacturer Pfizer after their announcement of a COVID-19 vaccine that’s said to be 90 percent effective.

Anya: “What do you think a rollout will look like for folks here in the Capital Region? And when?”

Dr. Rosenberg: “They [Pfizer] are envisioning an application to the FDA for approval later this month, and that they will have enough safety data to apply for an emergency authorization by the end the end of November. So we could  see an approved vaccine by Pfizer by the end of this year.”

But don’t get too excited. If the vaccine is approved, Pfizer said they can only produce between 15 to 20 million doses for the entire U.S. before the end of this year, limiting the immediate supply.

And there are other challenges.

Like transportation. The vaccine must remain very cold (-90 degrees F), and special freezers may be hard for some communities to come by.

Then there’s the human factor.  

“Overcoming what we call ‘vaccine hesitancy,’ Dr. Rosenberg said. “Many people have questions or real reasons for distrust that we need to educate and overcome.”

And even if people do roll up their sleeves for a shot, infectious disease specialists like Dr. Arthur Gran say, they must come back for a second dose.

“I don’t think that would discourage people from recommending this vaccine. I think there are a lot of people that want to get it,” said Gran.

And most will have to wait for a shot anyway before the heroes working the frontlines are given the vaccine.

In the meantime, Dr. Gran says, “We still need to take the utmost of precautions. Including wearing masks and social distancing and avoiding large gatherings. Everything that we have been doing over the past couple months.”

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