NEW YORK (WKBW) — During a COVID-19 briefing Monday New York Governor Cuomo announced the regional vaccination hub coordinators as well as when New Yorkers can expect Phase II of vaccine distribution to begin.
To this point the state has received 87,750 total doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, around an additional 80,000 doses are expected to arrive in the next few days.
Pending approval of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, the state expects 346,000 doses of that vaccine next week.
Cuomo said the state receives the vaccine and then distributes to all regions proportionately.
Officials previously announced Phase I of vaccine distribution for health care workers, nursing home and congregate care residents and workers.
The governor announced Phase II of vaccine distribution Wednesday for essential workers and the priority general public. Phase II is anticipated to start in late January if vaccine supplies continue.
The state has set up regional vaccination hubs led by hospital systems to develop a plan for a regional vaccination network once Phase II begins.
Catholic Health will be the vaccination hub coordinator for the Western New York Region and University of Rochester Medical Center will be the vaccination hub coordinator for the Finger Lakes region.
"Our role is to bring people together," said Mark Sullivan, CEO of Catholic Health. "Catholic Health is honored to partner with regional leaders to establish a planning network that ensures the quickest, safest and most equitable distribution and administration of this precious vaccine to people across our region," Sullivan said.
The first step is for Catholic Health to formulate a plan with the five counties, and submit that to the state by the end of this month. Once it is approved and rolled out by the state to the general public, vaccination is expected to begin.
Officials say the goal is to be the first COVID-free state.
"I want to make sure that we're doing everything we can to be the first state to kill this beast," said Cuomo.
Cuomo also announced the NYS Department of Financial Services is directing health insurers to immediately cover any COVID vaccination administration costs in full.
"In New York State no person will have to pay a penny for a vaccination...we want people to get vaccinated, it shouldn't be about wealth, no one will pay a penny," said Cuomo.
Also announced Wednesday was a new NYS website with all information on the vaccine which can be found here.