Healthcare workers, high-risk people will get priority for COVID-19 vaccine in New York: governor

NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Sunday that healthcare workers and high-risk populations, including some long-term care residents, would get priority in his state to receive a COVID-19 vaccine when one is approved and available.

According to the five-phase preliminary plan for New York's vaccine administration program, some details of which Cuomo announced at a news briefing, healthcare workers in patient-care settings, long-term care facility workers and some long-term care residents would be among the first to receive a vaccine.

In the second phase of vaccine rollout, first responders, school staff, other public-facing frontline workers and people whose health conditions put them at extreme risk would get priority for the vaccine.

In Phase 3, it would be administered to people over 65. All remaining essential workers would receive the vaccine in a fourth phase, and healthy adults and children would receive it in a fifth phase.

Prioritization would also vary by geographic location based on the prevalence of the virus, Cuomo said.

"This is a larger operational undertaking, I would argue, than anything we have done during COVID to date," he told reporters.

The program will likely seek to deliver some 40 million doses of a vaccine to state residents, as New York's population is around 20 million and the vaccines in development may require two doses to be effective, Cuomo said.

He said the state had sent the drafted plan to the federal government, along with questions on what funding the federal government would provide for the effort.

"States cannot do this on their own," he said.

A New York state task force will carry out its own review of coronavirus vaccines authorized or approved by the federal government due to concerns of politicization of the approval process, according to Cuomo, a Democrat who has blasted President Donald Trump's handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

"I think that will give people added surety in the vaccine," Cuomo said on Sunday.

(Reporting by Gabriella Borter in New York; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

10/18/2020 17:19

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