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COVID In NYC: Local Dry Ice Companies At The Ready To Make Sure Certain Vaccines Properly Distributed

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Mayor Bill de Blasio on Thursday warned that the second wave of COVID-19 "is right upon us."

This, as the city's seven-day average positivity rate has risen above 5% for the first time since May.

CBS2's Cory James has learned more about how a new vaccine will be distributed, using dry ice.

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In the race to stop the spread of COVID-19, Bill Panzella is preparing to jump in.

He told CBS2's Cory James his family business, Brooklyn Dry Ice, has been inundated with daily calls over the last few weeks from hospitals and labs trying to secure the cold product that is now a hot commodity. All of them are getting ready for the release of Moderna and Pfizer's vaccines.

"I'm not at liberty to say what hospitals, but it has been local area hospitals -- Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island and the Bronx," Panzella said.


On Thursday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo gave New Yorkers a first look at a vaccine shipment from Pfizer. He took the vile out of the box and explained why dry ice is so important for the potentially life-saving shot.

"It has to be ultra-cold. When you receive the package you have to replace the dry ice and then you have to replace the dry ice every five days," Cuomo said.

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To keep it cold, specialized medical freezers are also being purchased to store the vaccine at minus-94 degrees Fahrenheit.

"We are really excited about the oncoming vaccine," said Jeffrey Farber, president and CEO of the New Jewish Home in Harlem.

Farber has more than 400 senior citizens and 900 staff members that he is hoping to administer the shot to during the first round of distribution.

"It will be a tremendous boom in minimizing the risk of contagion and of spread of the disease to our most frail and vulnerable adults," Farber said.

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It's a vaccine Hackensack University Medical Center enter physician Dr. Ihor Sawczuk may have received in New Jersey. Back in August, he participated in a trial.

While it is unclear if he got the vaccine or placebo, he is encouraging people to get their dose.

"For those who understand, the adverse effects may not be as bad as they think it will be. Get in line, get your vaccine. Let's make this COVID-19 stop changing our lives," Sawczuk said.

Panzella said he will not stop distributing dry ice until there is no longer a need in the Tri-State Area.


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