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SU Public Health Prof. Praises Gov. Cuomo's Initial COVID-19 Vaccine Plan

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A Syracuse University Professor of Public Health is calling Governor Cuomo’s preliminary COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan logical and moral.  The plan divides vaccine distribution into five phases.  Healthcare and nursing home workers will receive the vaccine first, followed by first responders, certain essential workers and, then those over 65.  Dr. David Larsen says distribution can be a greater challenge than creating the vaccine itself.

“With vaccines to implement that you have to have enough doses, enough people to administer the doses, and then you also have to have the systems in place to make sure it still safe.”

Larsen says the Governor’s plan accurately considers the scale of this vaccine and how it would be administered for a state the size of New York.

“I like the way that the governors contextualize this, you know the idea of doing 40 million doses of vaccine in the state of New York, two for every person. You know how many tests a day. You’re doing a 150,000 tests per day.”

The doctor adds the plan’s approach is standard for a new vaccine of any kind, comparing it to the procedure for the Ebola vaccine.  He speculated that a COVID-19 vaccine may become routine for the public.

“Depending on how effecting and long lasting the vaccine is, then it may be a seasonal vaccine that we take every year. And so maybe similar distribution to the flu vaccine. And then once we are through with the pandemic, you know they might be looking at combining the flu with the coronavirus vaccine, making sure it still works effectively, and in different innovations that way so it’s not two different shots in the arm and just one.”

The Governor’s plan is subject to change as more specific details about a COVID-19 vaccine emerge.  Larsen says the best chance of success will be if the public stays unified and engaged in public health such as wearing masks, washing hands, social distancing and getting tested when necessary.