“I believe this is going to be the hardest operational challenge that we face since COVID began,” he said during a briefing, which included his take on what kind of an undertaking this might be. “The vaccines they are talking about require two dosages, 21 to 28 days apart. So, it would be 20 million people twice. We only did 13 million tests in seven months. How long will it take us to administer 20 million vaccines?”
And, many other questions remain. Like, how will the vaccine be distributed? And who will pay for it?
Cuomo said of the federal government’s past performance in handling the virus, that state’s “had to scramble.” The White House has pushed back saying Cuomo has skipped several of their meetings with governors across the country on the virus and vaccines.
But, in response to what he calls a lack of guidance, Cuomo has drafted a rollout for a vaccine that would be offered in stages when it becomes available. First priority would go to essential healthcare workers, long-term care facility workers, and most of their patients.
Next in line would be first responders and people who work with the public like essential workers such as teachers and grocery store employees. Then, people over 65 or those at high risk, all other essential workers, and finally healthy adults and children.
“This is going to get complicated very quickly,” said Dr. Ferdinand Venditti, Executive Vice President Albany Medical Center Hospital General Director.
Dr. Venditti says Albany Medical Center has formed a team to plan on how they will distribute the vaccine.
“And if you think about it, we employ 10,000-plus people here at the medical center. So if we vaccinate that many folks think of what that does for the community in terms of vaccination rate.”
The vaccines require a second shot weeks after the first one, and the second shot cannot come from a different drug maker and Venditti said there are many other complexities as well as the enormous effort administering a vaccine to millions of people in the Capital Region let alone the entire country.