Cuomo: 1st COVID-19 vaccine delivery set to arrive Dec. 15; will be enough for 170K NYers

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- New York state is set to receive its first batch of COVID-19 vaccines on Dec. 15, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday.

That delivery, which is pending “safety and efficacy approvals,” will include enough doses of Pfizer's vaccine to vaccinate 170,000 New Yorkers, Cuomo said at a news briefing Wednesday morning.

The state is expected to receive additional vaccine shipments from both Pfizer and Moderna later in the month, he said.

Once the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approves the vaccines, a New York state panel “will review the FDA’s approval,” the governor said.

“Why? Because we know we have existing skepticism about the vaccine,” he explained. “Our panel did not create the skepticism. The skepticism existed.”

Seventy-five to 80 percent of the general population must get vaccinated for the COVID-19 vaccine to be “most effective” he noted. The first doses the state receives will go to frontline health care workers, as well as nursing home residents and staff.

Of the 193,551 COVID-19 test results that came back in the state on Tuesday, 8,973, or 4.63 percent, were positive, Cuomo said at his briefing.

As of Tuesday, 3,924 people were hospitalized with the virus, up from 3,774 on Monday, he said. The state also reported 69 new COVID-19-related fatalities, he said.

Small gatherings, the governor noted, are now “the number one cause for spread.”

“We hope for a flattening of the increase mid-January,” he said. “We hope that the increase in social activity is through the holidays, [and] after Jan. 2, people settle down, the social activity slows down, the travel slows down and the increase in the rate slows down.”