Thousands of sites ranging from pharmacy chains to urgent care centers in New York will be sites for the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine for the general public, according to plans detailed on Tuesday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
There will also be drive-through vaccine operations at public college and university campuses similar to the testing program underway across the state.
At the same time, police, fire and transit agencies, as well as teachers unions, are being asked to "operationalize" their own vaccine distribution for their workers.
The governor provided new details on Tuesday to vaccinate millions of New Yorkers as the coronavirus pandemic continues its upswing in the new year in a mass distribution effort that is expected to take up most of 2021.
More than 8,000 patients are hospitalized due to the virus in New York. The state on Monday confirmed the first case of a new, more contagious version of the virus that was initially found in the United Kingdom in Saratoga Springs.
The vaccine distribution effort is expected to be a massive undertaking, with more than 19 million New Yorkers receiving potentially two doses in most cases. The vaccine distribution rollout has stalled in New York and across the country, with the goal of 20 million doses falling far short at the end of the year.
So far, New York is receiving about 300,000 doses of the vaccine a week.
"We hope, pray and expect the supply from the federal government will be increasing," Cuomo said at a news briefing. "But we need it to increase."
The state has identified 3,762 provider sites for vaccine distribution including long-term care facilities, pharmacies, hospitals, urgent care facilities, and community centers. Of those, 636 sites have access to the vaccine now.
"We've signed up hundreds in every region in the state," Cuomo said. There are 845 signed up distribution centers in New York City.
New York is working this week to finish the vaccinations of residents and staff at nursing homes this week, which had been part of a federal program that used retail pharmacy chains to adminster the doses.
Cuomo this week also sought to push hospitals to accelerate the administering of vaccine doses or face fines.
All health care workers in New York are now eligible to receive the vaccine, Cuomo said. There are 900,000 available doses and more than two million workers who qualify.