ALBANY, N.Y. — New York was slated to completely run out of vaccines on Friday as Gov. Cuomo warned of highly contagious new strains hampering efforts to stem the spread of COVID.
Only 28,246 doses provided to the state over the past five weeks remained as the governor addressed the shortfall around noon, just a fraction of the 80,000 shots being performed per day.
“We run out of allocation today. The Week 1 to 5 allocation will be exhausted by the end of the day, Friday,” Cuomo said during a briefing in Albany. “It may already be exhausted.
“We are now operating on a week-to-week basis. We will, today, fully utilize all of the dosages that have been delivered,” he added.
The Empire State has administered 1,329,237 inoculations so far, Cuomo said. Of those, 1,159,869 were first doses and 169,368 were second doses.
The shortfall has led Cuomo and other officials to ask providers to schedule coronavirus vaccine appointments only for allocations they know they will definitely receive.
Officials say while the availability of second doses will not be a problem, the current level of first-time shots being allocated to the state, which recently fell to 250,000 a week, is not sustainable.
Even if President Joe Biden makes good on his promise to provide the country with 100 million doses in his first 100 days in office, New York would receive only about 420,000 per week based on population.
At that rate, it would still take 17 weeks to immunize the 7.1 million New Yorkers currently eligible, including health care workers, first responders and all residents over 65.
While Cuomo praised Biden for taking steps such as utilizing the Defense Protection Act and issuing a nationwide mask mandate, he urged the newly sworn-in commander-in-chief to “do whatever he can to increase the supply” of vaccines.
The push comes as state’s positivity rate fell to 5.6% and the number of New Yorkers hospitalized with the virus dropped below 9,000 to 8,846 after weeks of rising.
The state also reported another 165 COVID-19 deaths on Thursday.
The governor said aside from supply his biggest concern at the moment is coronavirus mutations that experts say are more contagious and pose a greater risk of overwhelming hospitals.
New York reported three more cases of a strain first discovered in the United Kingdom, two in Westchester County and one in Brooklyn, bringing the statewide total to 25.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned last week that the English variant could become the dominant strain in the U.S. by March.
Earlier Friday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said there is growing evidence the new variant may be up to 30% more deadly than the most common strain of COVID-19.
“We’re in a war with COVID, it’s a fluid situation,” Cuomo said. “In war, when the enemy moves, you move. They try a new tactic, you try a new tactic.”