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First Doses Of Pfizer's COVID Vaccine Expected In New York On Dec. 15, Gov. Andrew Cuomo Says

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- We now know when a coronavirus vaccine will be delivered to New York.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday the first doses of Pfizer's vaccine will arrive in just two weeks, with additional doses by the end of the month.

CBS2's Dave Carlin learned details on how they'll be distributed and who will get them first.

New York's first COVID vaccine delivery is expected on Dec. 15, with 170,000 doses from Pfizer. Cuomo laid out the potential timeline, provided approvals happen.

The priority plan: Overwhelmingly nursing home residents and essential workers.

Cuomo said he knows this will be an uphill battle, because while people readily line up for COVID testing, vaccinations are different.

WATCH: Gov. Andrew Cuomo Discusses Potential Delivery Of COVID Vaccine

"Very few people refuse a COVID test. It's not a frightening test. It's a nasal swab. Now you're asking a person to take two vaccines, which is a more elaborate medical process, and they're distrusting about the vaccine going in," Cuomo said, adding, "This would be the largest governmental operation undertaken since World War II, in my opinion."

Some New Yorkers showed the apprehension Cuomo was talking about.

"No, I don't trust it," one woman told Carlin.

"I won't be the first person to take it and I won't be the last," one man said.

"I'm not going to take the vaccine right away," another man said.

"Yes after our concerns about supply are done. Yes," said another.


Getting closer to normal again requires high compliance. Cuomo said 75-85% of the population must be vaccinated to start bringing the economy back, optimistically predicting as early as June. But, given variables, he also said it might take until September or beyond.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is predicting a tough winter.

"The reality is December and January and February are going to be rough times," said CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield. "The reality is December and January and February are going to be rough times."

Stop Living Room Spread PSA by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on YouTube

With New York state reporting a 5.8% positivity rate Wednesday, Cuomo also unveiled a new public service announcement outlining where the experts say many of the new infections are coming from: Small gatherings.

The governor reminded New Yorkers to stay tough, and promised a safe vaccine he will take himself right away.

He said an extra layer of reassurance comes from seven states, including New York, with their own experts independently reviewing all vaccines

The announcement comes as Britain has become the first country to grant emergency use authorization for a COVID vaccine backed by rigorous science. Vaccinations in that country could begin in just days.

As CBS2's Dr. Max Gomez reported, the authorized vaccine is made by Pfizer in collaboration with German pharma company Biontech. Pfizer said it will begin shipping its vaccine to the U.K. immediately, but it will likely be days before actual immunization begins, given the logistical challenges surrounding the Pfizer vaccine, which must be kept at super-cold temperatures.

China and Russia have been using vaccines that, unlike the Pfizer version, have not been rigorously tested in large clinical trials. The British move may add pressure to the U.S. FDA to give similar authorization when its committee meets next week. The European Union is also vetting the Pfizer vaccine.

Britain has ordered enough for 20 million people of the Pfizer shot. That's 40 million of the two dose protocol, although it's not clear how much of that will be immediately available as the company ramps up its production.

One reason the British were able to authorize the vaccine so soon is that their version of the FDA did a "rolling" evaluation of the clinical trial data as it became available, while other countries, including the U.S., have waited for all the results before making a decision.


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