ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday that New York state could receive its first shipment of COVID-19 vaccine in less than two weeks’ time.
Dr. Michael Mendoza, the Monroe County Health Commissioner, says the preparation has already begun locally.
“We’re planning as though it’s right around the corner,” said Dr. Mendoza, in an interview with News 8.
“When the vaccine comes out, that will be the new largest public health undertaking in recent memory,” said Mendoza.
With several pharmaceutical companies showing promising COVID-19 vaccine results, Dr. Mendoza said the first shipments of a vaccine will reach top priorities: healthcare providers and long-term care residents first, then it will go to first responders and public health workers.
“We want to make sure that we are implementing these guidelines in a way that is mindful of equity across our diverse community,” Mendoza added.
In a Tuesday media briefing, Governor Andrew Cuomo said there would need to be an “extensive effort” to get the vaccine to Black, brown and poor communities.
“Just like we went through with the COVID testing, they’re underserved with the health care facilities, and the rate of skepticism is higher,” Cuomo said.
Governor Cuomo said Tuesday experts estimate a vaccine will not reach “critical mass” until late summer of next year.
Cuomo also contends the vaccine will be highly expensive to distribute, and is looking to the federal government to provide the funding.
“The states are not in a position to fund the vaccination process. The states are running deficits. The federal government hasn’t even funded the current deficit,” Cuomo said.