ALBANY — About 1,000 COVID-19 vaccines will be distributed per day at four federal mass sites upstate set to open in the coming weeks, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday, including in Western New York, the Capital Region and the Finger Lakes. No federal vaccination site with be opening in the north country
Members of the state Coronavirus Task Force will work with Federal Emergency Management Agency to open joint vaccination sites at the Delavan Grider Community Center in Buffalo, Erie County; the former Kodak Hawkeye parking lot in Rochester; the Washington Avenue Armory in Albany; and the New York National Guard Armory in Yonkers, Westchester County. The sites will open March 3.
“They get an allocation from the federal government, they’re jointly run between the state and the federal government,” Cuomo said Wednesday during a phone call with reporters.
The sites are under development with assistance from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Department of Defense and other federal agencies.
The federal government will provide a separate vaccine supply for the joint sites outside New York’s scheduled rough allocation of 315,000 doses weekly.
The four additional state and federal locations are in addition to two mass vaccination sites at York College in Jamaica, Queens, and Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn set to open next week. About 3,000 New Yorkers will be vaccinated at the downstate sites each day.
Appointments at the new sites will be initially reserved for members of the immediate community. Additional scheduling information about opening dates and hours of operation will be announced in the coming days, according to the governor’s office.
The joint-run sites — staffed by federal, state and local officials and the National Guard — will help vaccinate minority, low-income and other socially vulnerable communities.
Minority groups are less likely to accept receiving a coronavirus vaccine when eligible because of traditional disparities in health care, correlating health education and a heightened distrust of the government.
“Part of it is access, part of it is hesitancy,” Cuomo said. “We have to work harder in those areas to get those numbers up.”
Coronavirus infections plagued Black and Hispanic communities three times as much as the rate for white Americans. African-Americans died from COVID-19 at 2.5 times, and Latinos at 1.5 times, the rate of whites.
The state will also open 13 community-based pop-up vaccine sites at community centers, public housing complexes and cultural centers. The state runs 91 temporary vaccine locations to date.
A site will open at the Schenectady City Mission in the Capital Region, Native American Community Services center in Buffalo and the Trenton and Pamela Jackson R-Center in Rochester in the Finger Lakes region. Five sites are slated for New York City, two in the Hudson Valley and one each in Long Island, Central New York and the Southern Tier.
“I want to thank President (Joe) Biden for that and the coronavirus response coordinator Jeff Zients — this is a very big and aggressive effort to address vaccine hesitancy in the Black community, and I thank them very much for that,” Cuomo said.
The sites are slated to vaccinate 3,850 people this week. Vaccinations are by appointment only, and are already filled in the Hudson Valley, Capital Region and Western New York.
The state reports at least 2,068,561 New Yorkers have received at least one of two required doses of the COVID-19 vaccine as of Wednesday. About 91% of the state’s COVID-19 vaccine supply delivered in the first nine weeks, or since Dec. 14, was administered to New Yorkers.
Doses for the 10th week have started to arrive in federal shipments, according to the governor’s office.
The state’s COVID-19 infection rate remained about flat at 3.58% on Wednesday from 3.53% on Monday, but down from about 4.3% for most of last week.
North country’s infection rate dipped to 3.7% down from 3.97% on Monday and also declined to 2.2% in the Finger Lakes on Wednesday from 2.38%. The Capital Region had a lower 2% positivity from 2.27% on Monday. New York City’s positivity is 4.3%.
The state’s seven-day average positivity is 3.66% — the lowest since Nov. 28.
Statewide virus hospitalizations declined 46 people to 6,574 patients Wednesday.
The state reported 109 New Yorkers died from COVID-19 on Tuesday — flat from 103 Sunday, but down from about 130 each day for the last two weeks.