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Northwell Health, New York’s largest healthcare system, will lead the initiative to vaccinate Long Islanders for Covid-19 in phase two, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced in his press briefing today.

Each region in the state is assigned a “vaccination hub coordinator,” a healthcare system that will work with local government, health providers, and others in the community to roll out the vaccine once the state reaches phase two, when essential workers and the high-risk general public will start getting vaccinated.

“This state has paid more than its fair share for Covid with what we went through in the spring,” Cuomo said, “and I want to make sure we do everything we can to be the first state to kill this beast.”

Northwell Health will need to submit a vaccination plan for Long Island to the New York State Department of Health by the first week of January. The health department will then decide whether to approve every region’s plans based on the guidance it has given.

Plans must involve working with government and health organizations, connecting directly to communities, and tailoring the plans to the needs of the region. It must also plan for the “efficient and expedited delivery and administration” of the vaccine and a “fair and equitable strategy” that focuses on communities with lower vaccination rates and poor health outcomes, the governor’s office’s presentation said.

Cuomo called the Covid-19 vaccination program “the most ambitious governmental operation that has been undertaken, period.” He also announced that New Yorkers who have questions about the vaccine can get more information at ny.gov/vaccine.

On Monday, Northwell Health staff administered the first Covid-19 vaccine in New York to a critical care nurse at Long Island Jewish Medical Center. Phase one of vaccine administration, which is going to high-risk hospital workers and nursing home staff and residents, is now underway across Long Island and the entire country.

The first allocation of the Pfizer vaccine will go to 170,000 New Yorkers, about 26,500 of them on Long Island. More allocations are expected in the coming weeks, including 346,000 of the Moderna vaccines, pending its approval with the Food and Drug Administration. After the federal government allocates the state a certain number of vaccines, the state distributes them to all regions proportionally.

Cuomo said vaccine allocations for phase two will arrive in late January if the federal government stays on the current schedule. Therefore, he wants each region to be fully prepared with plans for vaccinating the public.

For more coronavirus coverage, visit longislandpress.com/coronavirus

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