COVID-19 vaccines: More hope as distribution details emerge

State says chain pharmacies won't be enough

Buffalo, NY (WBEN) - Even more hopeful signs that COVID vaccinations will soon become available Monday morning as AstraZeneca announces promising data for its pending vaccine.

The big question many are asking is that when a COVID-19 vaccine becomes available, how will it be distributed?

Pharmacies anticipate being part of the process of the distribution as the government turns to a trusted arm of the national health care system.

Locally, at Black Rock Pharmacy, Brad Arthur tells WBEN, "I think that's largely a result of pharmacies demonstrating they're well positioned to be able to roll out the vaccines in a safe and efficient way." He continued, "I think the governor recognizes the pharmacies can do this so it makes perfect sense."

Arthur says there is a cold storage requirement that can be challenging. "It will require the vaccine to be stored in very, very cold conditions. The distribution system will have to meet those requirements in a safe and efficient way," notes Arthur, who adds he can meet those requirements.

Arthur says historically, distributing vaccines has been tricky. "It's not economic, it's a matter of supply and demand," says Arthur.

Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul says she and Governor Cuomo have been in touch with both the incoming and outgoing administrations about vaccine distribution. "He's working closely to make sure we have the supplies we need," says Hochul, who notes the Trump administration is looking to distribute vaccines to doctor's offices, hospitals, and chain pharmacies.

Hochul says that may not be work for this region. "We know there are rural and urban areas where there's just not a Rite Aid or a Walgreens at every corner, so we're going to work with community groups and churches to find places [to distribute the vaccine]."

Hochul says Cuomo has committed New York will have the most robust, widespread distribution plan in America.

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