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Seventy-three New York City health care workers received their first dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine on the initial day of its rollout at five hospitals, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday as he declared that the city’s vaccination effort will “move very fast.”
Nearly 42,000 doses of the vaccine were expected to be available Tuesday at 42 public and private hospitals across the Big Apple, de Blasio said during a City Hall press briefing.
“Today we begin the work of ensuring the vaccine reaches as many New Yorkers as possible, as quickly as possible,” said de Blasio, who referred to the vaccine as “a shot of hope.”
“It is a reminder that the war against the coronavirus will soon be over,” de Blasio added.
The two-dose vaccine, developed by the Manhattan-based drugmaker and German company BioNTech, is the first federally-approved coronavirus vaccine.
The largest vaccination effort in American history officially got underway Monday as the first shipments of the vaccine arrived at locations across all 50 states.
Queens critical-care nurse Sandra Lindsay who has been on the front lines of the coronavirus crisis became the first person in the nation to get the first non-trial dose of the vaccine during Monday’s historic rollout.
“This is going to move very fast. This is going to really speed up,” de Blasio said of the city’s vaccination effort.
“What we’ve seen so far is our hospitals are ready. They have been waiting for this moment and preparing and it’s incredibly encouraging to see the vaccine here and go into action,” said de Blasio.
Front line health care workers and nursing home staffers and residents remain the top priority in the initial phase of the rollout.
City Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi explained that over the course of this week and next week, the vaccination effort will focus on high-risk health care workers, and starting next week city nursing home staffers and residents are slated to receive their first doses.
From there, vaccinations will then be expanded to other health care workers, Chokshi said.
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