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Cuomo announces new distribution networks to help increase vaccination rates, supplement hospitals

Posted at 5:22 PM, Jan 08, 2021

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — New York State, with a population of about 20 million people, receives 300,000 vaccines per week from the federal government, according to Governor Cuomo.

He said in order to achieve herd immunity, 70 to 90 percent need to get vaccinated. The minimum of 70 percent means 14 million need to be vaccinated, which governor Cuomo said will take about 47 weeks.

He said vaccine distribution rates are up, but it's not enough. And the state cannot increase the supply.

"It's all done federally, and then we get a proportionate amount. What we get, we have to get into people's arms," said Cuomo.

Cuomo added the population of health care workers - those in group 1A - who have been vaccinated is too low.

"And what we're going to do is add new distribution networks to supplement the hospitals," he said.

This will include private doctor networks, county health departments, ambulatory centers and the pharmacy network - there are 5,000 of them in the state.

"We have 1,200 pharmacies that are already committed and will be ramping up next week," said Cuomo.

In addition, 500 pharmacies will be on-line next week.

Cuomo said low vaccination rates are because some hospitals aren't doing a good job of distributing the vaccine. He said earlier this week that Olean General Hospital's rate was 28 percent.

"We are not at 28 percent at Olean General," said Dennis McCarthy, Director of Marketing and Communications.

McCarthy said Olean General is at 87% as of Thursday. He said other hospitals are voicing concerns over the inaccuracies in the state’s vaccine reporting system.

"They believe it has something to do with how the data's being processed through the department of health. Understand that these reports - from what I'm getting - is that hospitals have to file up to five reports, different reports each day on the vaccination program," he said.

He added that almost 200 people have registered Friday, and expects they might be out of vaccines by the end of the day.

Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul said by the time everyone in groups 1A and 1B are vaccinated it will be mid-April. Which is why she announced on Friday the creation of a vaccine hub to ensure equitable distribution Western New York.

"We're intensely, intensely setting up more distribution points. Not just the pharmacies and healthcare offices, but literally large locations so people can drive up," she said.

Cuomo said starting Monday, those in group 1B can start signing up to get the vaccine, but it's important to note that it will take about 14 weeks.