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COVID-19 vaccine for general public not likely until summer

Frontline healthcare workers being vaccinated now.
Posted at 6:07 PM, Jan 04, 2021

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — It appears it will be at least another five to six months before the general public will have a chance to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

“Vaccine for the general community will not be available for the general public until spring or summer. It will be months,” said Erie County Health Commissioner Gale Burstein.

Right now, front line healthcare workers are receiving the first dose of the vaccine. Next in line is other essential workers and people living in long-term care facilities.

“We need to get the vaccine in people’s arms,” said Governor Andrew Cuomo.

The Governor says that will happen at a more rapid pace soon. All nursing home residents in the state will be vaccinated within the next two weeks.

Cuomo says the main source of frustration now is at the hospital level. He says only about half of state-run hospitals are acting fast enough to distribute their allotments of the COVID-19 vaccine. If they don’t use it, that could mean a fine from the state and further implications.

“They have to move the vaccine faster,” he said.

Cuomo says if public hospitals don’t distribute 100% of the COVID-19 vaccine allocation they have received by the end of the week, the hospital system will be fined up to $100,000 and will not receive further allocations of the vaccine.

ECMC has distributed more than 72% of its vaccine, and says it expects the rest will be used by the end of the week.