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Coronavirus Vaccine Update: First Doses From Pfizer Could Arrive In New York This Weekend

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A coronavirus vaccine is inching closer to becoming reality in the United States. The federal government is preparing to ship nearly 3 million doses of Pfizer vaccine with hopes for emergency Food and Drug Administration approval on Thursday.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said shipments could arrive in the state this weekend and in New York City as early as Tuesday.

This comes as there is concern that, for now, those with severe allergies, may need to avoid taking the vaccine, CBS2's Lisa Rozner reported.

If approved, organizations like the Mount Sinai Health System have plans to vaccinate around 15% of its staff in the first round.

Just one day after thousands of high-risk individuals and health care workers got the first official round of the Pfizer vaccine, health officials in the United Kingdom issued an urgent warning, saying two health care workers who have severe allergies experienced allergic reactions after getting the shot.

MOREU.K. Warns Against Giving Pfizer Vaccine To People Prone To Severe Allergic Reactions

That prompted, Moncef Slaoui, the head of Operation Warp Speed in the U.S. to say, "Personally, I would go for the caution and avoid vaccinating people with severe allergies."

Still, with Thursday's pending FDA approval, supply in the country won't meet demand.

Pfizer is one of two drug manufacturers seeking emergency use authorization. Pfizer and Moderna say they will each produce 100 million doses, which, at two doses per person, would only vaccinate about 30% of the American population of 328 million.

In New York state, the first priority is to vaccinate nursing home residents, staff and high-risk hospital workers.

"So, folks like the nurses and the physicians, the respiratory therapist that are doing treatments, as well as people like the environmental service workers," said Dr. Susan Mashni, vice president and chief pharmacy officer for Mount Sinai Health System.


Pfizer says it will not be able to add additional doses until the summer because other countries have bought most of their supply, but the New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers is calling on the pharmaceutical company to donate 30,000 doses.

"We are transporting those that don't feel symptoms and they're the ones that are going to get us infected," federation head Fernando Mateo said.

MORECOVID In NYC: Many Residents Have Yet To Show Confidence In Vaccine Process

It's not clear when Phase II of New York's vaccine distribution will take place. It will target first responders, school staff and students, and public-facing essential workers like grocery store employees and transit operators.

The two people in the U.K. who had the allergic reactions had EpiPens with them, used them, and are ok.

Right now, experts advise pregnant women, children under 16 and transplant patients to avoid the vaccine until further research is done.



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