NEW YORK - The end of the pandemic is in sight, said Mayor Bill de Blasio Tuesday, as he reminded New Yorkers that the vaccine for the coronavirus was expected to arrive in the city next week.
"We are 10 months into this crisis, but for the first time, we really can see the end in sight. Why? Because the vaccine is coming next week," said the mayor during a briefing from City Hall. "The vaccine is coming to New York City because the vaccine is being produced in huge quantities for this city and this country."
New Yorkers most at risk of contracting the coronavirus will be the first to receive the vaccine. 465,525 doses were anticipated in two shipments. The first shipment of 254,250 from pharmaceutical giant Pfizer is expected on Dec. 15 followed by a shipment of 211,275 from Moderna on Dec. 22.
A nurse holds a vial of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine. (Photo by Victoria Jones / POOL / AFP)
The city is working with the state to fine-tune the distribution process. Vaccination requires two doses of the same vaccine administered about 21 days apart.
"This is the final phase of the war against the coronavirus. We have one more big battle ahead. We have to get through December and January, and into February. This is the last big battle before us then the vaccine will be able to do its work," said de Blasio.
He urged New Yorkers to continue to get tested at the various sites across the city.
The New York City Health Department is tasked with managing the distribution of the vaccine. Health officials say that the city can store over 300,00 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, and millions of Moderna's.
A citywide immunization registry will be used to monitor inventory and administration. Further down the road, temporary vaccine centers will be established at some schools and will be managed by the Department of Health for essential workers and could be expanded to the general public.
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British health authorities rolled out the first doses of the vaccine Tuesday. The first shot was given to Margaret Keenan, who turns 91 next week, at University Hospital Coventry, one of several hospitals around the country that are handling the initial phase of the program on what has been dubbed “V-Day.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.