Four new mass vaccination sites will open across upstate New York and the New York City suburbs in the coming weeks, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday, after the federal government committed to another boost in doses for states this week.
Those sites will be set up in Buffalo, Rochester, Albany and the city of Yonkers in Westchester County, and will have the capacity to perform 1,000 vaccinations each day.
“This is a very big and aggressive effort to address vaccine hesitancy in the Black community,” Cuomo said.
The mass vaccination sites will be run jointly by the state and federal government, and will begin administering doses on March 3, Cuomo said. The Biden administration, last week, partnered with the state to launch two other mass vaccination sites in Brooklyn and Queens.
The new mass vaccination sites will be at the Delavan Grider Community Center in Buffalo, the former Kodak Hawkeye parking lot on Avenue E in Rochester, the Washington Avenue Armory in Albany and the National Guard Recruiting Center in Yonkers.
"Appointments at FEMA-NYS partnered sites will be initially reserved for members of the community in which the sites are located, and community engagement efforts will be used to help and encourage community members sign up for appointments," said the governor's website. "More scheduling information, opening dates and hours of operation will be made available in the coming days."
As of Wednesday, more than 3.3 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine had been administered in New York, with more than 1 million people having now received both required injections.
Cuomo said he spoke with local officials from around the state on a conference call Tuesday to talk through New York’s vaccine strategy. He said he told those officials to focus their efforts in distributing the vaccine with geographic, racial, and ethnic equity in mind.
“It is very important that the distribution be fair,” Cuomo said. “This is a precious resource; everybody wants it and there’s not enough.”
He also called for more coordination from the federal government on distribution to avoid confusion between the state and local entities.
Right now, the federal government ships doses of the vaccines directly to certain facilities, while other doses are sent to the state, which then distributes the vaccine. That method has made it difficult to arrange distribution, Cuomo said, but he predicted it would resolve itself soon.
“At one point, the situation will reverse, I believe. Because at one point you will have a significant amount of doses,: Cuomo said. “Then, the multiplicity of the distribution points will actually be a positive … But right now, it is no doubt confusing.”
The state’s COVID-19 indicators, meanwhile, continued to tick down on Wednesday. Statewide positivity for the virus was at 3.58% and hospitalizations ticked down to 6,574 — close to a third of what they were at the peak of the pandemic in the spring.