Phase 2 of COVID-19 vaccination expected to begin in late January, Cuomo says

New York News

ALBANY, N.Y. (WIVB) — Even though New York only began Phase 1 of its COVID-19 vaccination program on Monday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday Phase 2 could begin in late January, if the supply chain holds up.

“The dates tend to change with the federal government,” Cuomo warned. “That’s not a criticism. I know they’re trying to move a lot of big pieces very quickly.”

According to New York State’s Vaccination Program Book, released in October, Phase 2 includes: first responders, workers at schools doing in-person instruction, essential frontline workers who regularly interact with the public, such as pharmacists, grocery store workers, and transit employees, and those living in the general population deemed to be at high-risk due to comorbidities.

“I think the general consensus with the officers in our department is when it comes to our turn, we’ll all be there to get the vaccines,” said City of Tonawanda Police Department Captain Fredric Foels, who falls into Phase 2.

Timelines have not been provided for Phase 3, which includes senior citizens and those under the age of 65 who have high-risk comorbidities, Phase 4, which includes all other essential workers, and Phase 5, which includes everybody else.

Phase 1 of the plan continued on Wednesday. That phase involves front-line health care workers, long-term care facility workers, and most at-risk residents of those facilities. Stacey Forgensi, a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist at ECMC, became the first employee at that hospital to become vaccinated Wednesday.

As of Wednesday, Cuomo says the state has been sent 87,750 doses of the Pfizer vaccine. He said another 80,000 doses are expected to be received in the coming days, and that those doses would go to nursing home residents and staff.

A second dose of the Pfizer vaccine is needed three weeks after the first dose to complete the inoculation process.

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