The director of critical care at Long Island Jewish Medical Center (LIJ) in Queens has become the first person in the United States to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in a non-trial setting.
Sandra Lindsay, RN, received the vaccine just after 9 a.m. Monday as Gov. Andrew Cuomo looked on from Albany via livestream.
Sandra Lindsay, ICU Nurse at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in Queens Receives First Vaccine in Nation.
This morning, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo watched virtually as Dr. Chester administered the vaccine to Ms. Lindsay, a front-line health care worker eligible to receive the vaccine under Phase 1 of New York's Vaccine Distribution Plan.
"Governor Cuomo, I'm feeling well. I would like to thank all the frontline workers, all my colleagues, who've been doing a yeoman's job throughout this this pandemic all over the world. I am hopeful. I feel I hope today, relieved. I feel like healing is coming and this marks the beginning of the end of a very painful time in our history. I want to instill public confidence that the vaccine is safe. We're in a pandemic and so we all need to do your part to put an end to the pandemic, and to not give up so soon. There is light at the end of the tunnel, but we still need to continue to wear our masks, to social distance. I believe in science. As a nurse, my practice is guided by science and so I trust that. What I don't trust is that, if I contract COVID, I don't know how it would impact or those who I come in contact with, so I encourage everyone to take the vaccine."
Both Mayor de Blasio and the Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on Friday outline the vaccine plan for New York, as well as respond to the rise in COVID-19 cases.
Mayor de Blasio outlined the City’s Vaccine Equity Plan and launched the vaccine command center. The City will ensure equitable vaccine distribution to the 27 hardest-hit neighborhoods identified by the City's Taskforce on Racial Inclusion & Equity. Through the Center, the City will track critical metrics on vaccine coverage, with a priority focus on the 27 neighborhoods.
“A vaccine must be distributed equally to be effective," said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “COVID-19 has exposed our city's most painful disparities, and we are addressing those inequities head-on and making a vaccine available for all New Yorkers."
"As our City navigates the path to recovery, the families and communities that have been negatively and disproportionately affected must be in the forefront of our efforts to distribute the vaccine.” said First Lady Chirlane McCray. “When we established the Taskforce on Racial Inclusion and Equity, we set out to identify immediate and long term solutions to help heal and strengthen these communities. With a vaccine on the horizon, it’s time for all of us to engage deeply and rebuild even stronger.”
The City will use NYCHA space—including NYC Health + Hospitals clinics—to vaccinate priority populations, following the successful partnership model the City established with NYCHA for COVID-19 testing. Through a broader outreach effort, the City will work with NYCHA residents, community partners, and faith leaders to spread accurate and trustworthy information about the vaccine and improve the distribution process.
The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene will also host virtual conversations with residents in the 27 neighborhoods and community leaders to share information on vaccine planning and provide opportunities for community members to raise questions and concerns. Community partners will have access to a training model, allowing them to serve as trusted messengers and hold webinars and community conversations on the City’s vaccine plan information and updates
The Taskforce on Racial Inclusion & Equity will also establish a subcommittee to focus on vaccine distribution in the city’s hardest-hit neighborhoods and engage their robust network of over 200 community organizations to ensure effective outreach. Their work will inform the City’s Vaccine Equity Principles, a set of commitments to ensure the vaccine is accessible to priority populations, with the obligation to continually solicit feedback from hardest-hit neighborhoods throughout the distribution process.
The City is expected to receive 465,000 doses of the vaccine by the beginning of January. In accordance with State and CDC guidelines, the initial expected doses will be given to nursing homes and health care personnel performing high-risk activities. The first shipments of the vaccine will be sent to hospitals, who have the capacity for ultracold storage, which is required for the Pfizer vaccine. Other healthcare personnel will receive the vaccine next.
COVID-19 Infection Rates are Rising
- Keep your circle of contacts small. Lower your risk of exposure to COVID-19, even during the holidays.
- When you are around others, stay 6 feet apart and wear your mask.
- If you’re sick, stay home! Don’t go to work or school. Get tested and isolate until you know your results.
- If you have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19, stay home and away from others for 14 days.
- Download the COVID-19 Alert NY app and get private COVID-19 exposure alerts.
New York State Puts Plan in Place for Vaccine and Responses to the Spike in Cases.
Following a month-long rise in COVID-19 cases in New York City, Gov. Andrew Cuomo moved to shut down indoor dining indefinitely starting on Monday. Cuomo indicated the shutdown was coming last week due to a rise in hospitalizations, and on Friday, he confirmed that hospitalizations had continued to climb this past week prompting the shutdown.
Cuomo had been closing different parts of the city based on clusters of cases with restaurants facing restrictions in Washington Heights, Mott Haven, and large parts of Queens and the Bronx.
This is the first citywide shutdown measure to go into place since March, when the first COVID-19-related restrictions were introduced.
On Monday, New York City will reopen some of its public schools in the midths of a worsening coronavirus outbreak.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo updated New Yorkers on the state's vaccination distribution plan as the FDA is expected to authorize Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine this week. The state's vaccination distribution effort will focus on battling skepticism, include outreach to Black, Brown and poor communities, as well as expedited distribution and administration. New York could receive its initial allocation of 170,000 vaccines as soon as this weekend, and expects further allocations in the following weeks.
"Distributing the vaccine is a massive undertaking. I think frankly, people have not focused enough on the extent of what this undertaking means. I can't think of a government operation that has been commenced that is more difficult and intricate than what governments will be asked to do here," Governor Cuomo said. "The way the vaccine is going to work is the federal government will be responsible for the procurement and the distribution. The military is doing the transportation with private companies, and they will send it where we ask them to send it. We then set the priorities for not only where it goes, but who gets it. The first allocation is for nursing home residents, nursing home staff and high-risk health care workers. We've identified 90 regional centers that can keep the vaccine at the required temperature and they'll act as distribution centers for that region. Pfizer's vaccine is expected to be approved by the FDA tomorrow. Immediately after that, our New York State panel will convene and review and approve it. They've already been speaking to the FDA about the process."
As outlined in New York's vaccination program, high-risk healthcare workers, nursing home residents and staff are prioritized first to receive the vaccine, followed by other long-term and congregate care staff and residents and EMS and other health care workers. Essential workers and the general population, starting with those who are at highest risk, will be vaccinated after these initial priority groups.
New York has opted into the federal government's nursing home vaccination program. Under the federal program, employees of CVS and Walgreens will vaccinate residents and staff in these facilities, much like the do for the flu vaccine. New York State will issue guidance for hospitals to select which patient-facing staff should be prioritized as "high-risk" in line with state rules.
If authorized by the FDA, the first delivery of Pfizer vaccines for the federal nursing home vaccination program could begin arriving next week, with the federal program slated to begin on December 21. New York is dedicating a portion of its initial allotment of 170,000 doses to this program. Portions of future state allocations will also be used to help complete the program and ensure all residents and staff are vaccinated.
'High risk' hospital workers eligible to receive a vaccination from the state's initial allotment include emergency room workers, ICU staff and pulmonary department staff. As part of the effort to vaccinate 'high risk' hospital staff, the state has identified 90 locations across the state with requisite cold storage capabilities and those sites will receive enough doses for approximately 90,000 patient-facing hospital staff, or 40 percent of the entire patient-facing hospital workforce. The state expects all 'high risk' hospital staff will receive a vaccine by the end of week two. Staff at every hospital in New York State, regardless of storage capabilities, will have access to the first allocation of a vaccine.
The vaccine will be allocated on a regional basis. Regional estimated distributions are as follows:
- New York City -72,000
- Long Island - 26,500
- Mid-Hudson - 19,200
- Capital Region - 7,850
- North Country - 3,700
- Mohawk Valley - 4,200
- Central New York - 6,400
- Southern Tier - 4,500
- Finger Lakes - 11,150
- Western New York - 14,500
Following the vaccination of 'high risk' health care workers, the priority will shift to all long-term and congregate care residents and staff, EMS and other health care workers. Essential workers and the general population will follow those groups, and those with the highest risk will be prioritized.
Additionally, the New York National Guard has been selected by the Department of Defense as one of 16 pilot programs across the nation to be part of the limited distribution of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to military personnel. Members of the New York Army and Air National Guard who serve as part of the state's COVID response efforts will be eligible for the vaccine.