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New York Fears Being ‘Starved’ for Vaccine Just as Rollout Speeds Up

But as those new sites opened, the supply of doses that had been directed to some hospitals appeared to diminish. Many hospitals had only recently begun vaccinating their patients.

As of early Friday, New York City reported having received 800,500 doses, of which 337,518 vaccines had been administered. But about 100,000 of the received doses were earmarked for nursing homes, city officials said, and about 200,000 were set to be used as second doses.

So, the actual number of available doses for people being vaccinated for the first time is less.

And the city has been increasing its daily vaccination rate. From Monday through Thursday of this week, the city administered nearly 120,000 doses.

“The increasing problem now is there is not enough supply of vaccine to keep up with the first appointments, let alone the second appointments,” Mr. de Blasio said on Friday.

For the first month of the rollout in New York, Mr. Cuomo limited eligibility largely to health care workers and nursing home residents, and imposed a thicket of regulations that led vaccinations to proceed more slowly than expected. Many doses sat unused in freezers for weeks. Under pressure to speed things up, Mr. Cuomo relented, opening eligibility to large categories of public sector employees, essential workers and anyone over 65. Within days, the number of eligible New Yorkers had more than doubled.

Covid-19 Vaccines ›

Answers to Your Vaccine Questions

While the exact order of vaccine recipients may vary by state, most will likely put medical workers and residents of long-term care facilities first. If you want to understand how this decision is getting made, this article will help.

Life will return to normal only when society as a whole gains enough protection against the coronavirus. Once countries authorize a vaccine, they’ll only be able to vaccinate a few percent of their citizens at most in the first couple months. The unvaccinated majority will still remain vulnerable to getting infected. A growing number of coronavirus vaccines are showing robust protection against becoming sick. But it’s also possible for people to spread the virus without even knowing they’re infected because they experience only mild symptoms or none at all. Scientists don’t yet know if the vaccines also block the transmission of the coronavirus. So for the time being, even vaccinated people will need to wear masks, avoid indoor crowds, and so on. Once enough people get vaccinated, it will become very difficult for the coronavirus to find vulnerable people to infect. Depending on how quickly we as a society achieve that goal, life might start approaching something like normal by the fall 2021.

Yes, but not forever. The two vaccines that will potentially get authorized this month clearly protect people from getting sick with Covid-19. But the clinical trials that delivered these results were not designed to determine whether vaccinated people could still spread the coronavirus without developing symptoms. That remains a possibility. We know that people who are naturally infected by the coronavirus can spread it while they’re not experiencing any cough or other symptoms. Researchers will be intensely studying this question as the vaccines roll out. In the meantime, even vaccinated people will need to think of themselves as possible spreaders.

The Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine is delivered as a shot in the arm, like other typical vaccines. The injection won’t be any different from ones you’ve gotten before. Tens of thousands of people have already received the vaccines, and none of them have reported any serious health problems. But some of them have felt short-lived discomfort, including aches and flu-like symptoms that typically last a day. It’s possible that people may need to plan to take a day off work or school after the second shot. While these experiences aren’t pleasant, they are a good sign: they are the result of your own immune system encountering the vaccine and mounting a potent response that will provide long-lasting immunity.

No. The vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer use a genetic molecule to prime the immune system. That molecule, known as mRNA, is eventually destroyed by the body. The mRNA is packaged in an oily bubble that can fuse to a cell, allowing the molecule to slip in. The cell uses the mRNA to make proteins from the coronavirus, which can stimulate the immune system. At any moment, each of our cells may contain hundreds of thousands of mRNA molecules, which they produce in order to make proteins of their own. Once those proteins are made, our cells then shred the mRNA with special enzymes. The mRNA molecules our cells make can only survive a matter of minutes. The mRNA in vaccines is engineered to withstand the cell’s enzymes a bit longer, so that the cells can make extra virus proteins and prompt a stronger immune response. But the mRNA can only last for a few days at most before they are destroyed.

There was not enough vaccine for most of them. Mr. Cuomo on Friday again blamed the federal government for its slow delivery of vaccines, adding that the Trump administration’s recommendation to expand eligibility had exacerbated frustrations and shortages.

“They increased the eligibility,” the governor said. “They did not increase the supply.”

Officials in the state also say that they are uncertain how many doses will be available week to week. Mark Poloncarz, the Democrat who serves as county executive in Erie County, which encompasses Buffalo, the state’s second largest city, said on Thursday that the county had received about 7,500 doses from the state last week and about 5,300 this week, including a batch from an area hospital.

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