Phase 1 of its COVID-19 Vaccination Program began here in New York on Monday. Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on NEWS 4 (WIVB-TV) that Phase 2 could begin in late January if there are no interruptions in the supply.

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“The dates tend to change with the federal government,” Cuomo warned. “That’s not a criticism. I know they’re trying to move a lot of big pieces very quickly.”

 

Phase 2 includes first responders, workers at schools doing in-person instruction, essential frontline workers, such as pharmacists, grocery store workers, and transit employees, and those living in the general population deemed to be at high-risk due to pre-existing conditions.

Phase 3, includes senior citizens and those under the age of 65 who have high-risk comorbidities, Phase 4, includes all other essential workers, and Phase 5, includes everybody else. No timelines have been announced for those phases.

The phase currently being implemented (Phase 1) involves front-line health care workers, long-term care facility workers, and most at-risk residents of those facilities.

As of Wednesday, Governor Cuomo says the state has received a total of 87,750 doses of the vaccine. Another 80,000 of Pfizer’s doses are expected to be received in the coming days, according to Cuomo which would go to nursing home residents and staff.

A second dose of the Pfizer vaccine is needed approximately three weeks after the first dose to complete the inoculation process.

The Western New York Regional Vaccination Hub is being headed up by Catholic Health. That places them in charge of coordinating with community leaders to form a vaccination network to start once the state has enough doses to begin Phase 2. A plan must be submitted to the state for approval during the first week of January.

“Although there are some directives around how this will work, we need to look at our region across the five counties to determine what those communities of concern are to make sure the vaccination is equitable and we’re aware of those populations,” said Catholic Health President and CEO Mark Sullivan.

The Western New York region encompasses Erie, Niagara, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, and Allegany Counties.

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