New York State expects to run out of coronavirus vaccines by the end of Friday, but more doses will come in in the coming days, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced at a news conference.
“We will – by the end of today – fully utilize all the dosages that have been delivered,” said Mr Cuomo on Friday.
Ninety-seven percent of New York State's vaccine inventory collected over the past five weeks has been administered, the governor noted, and a total of 28,000 first doses were in inventory on Friday morning. Mr. Cuomo added that the state vaccinates about 80,000 people per day, meaning that the entire supply could be exhausted as early as Friday afternoon.
Mr. Cuomo urged vaccine providers to only schedule appointments based on the number of doses they know they will receive.
"Some providers think that if they schedule appointments in advance, people will feel more comfortable – not if you cancel those appointments," said Mr Cuomo. "So don't schedule an appointment unless you know that there will be an approved state allocation and agreements will be honored."
Mr. Cuomo also expressed concern about the new virus variants. So far, New York State has found 25 confirmed cases of the more contagious variant found in Britain, but no cases of the variants found in South Africa or Brazil, he said.
New York State should receive 250,400 doses of vaccine next week, some arriving Friday. If delivery permits, New York State could vaccinate 700,000 people every week, Mr Cuomo said.
His hands are tied when it comes to the vaccine supply. Federal health officials and business leaders agree that it will be impossible to increase supply before April due to the lack of manufacturing capacity. And the current vaccination effort, little centralized under the Trump administration, has so far created confusion and frustration. Some areas complain that they are running low on doses, while others have unused bottles on shelves.
Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna are on track to deliver up to 18 million doses per week, according to a senior government official. Together, they have pledged to deliver 200 million doses by the end of March.
A third vaccine manufacturer, Johnson & Johnson, will report the results of its clinical trial shortly. If approved, that vaccine would also help support production. If all that stock were used, the country could get more than two million shots a day on average.
The outlook will improve in April and beyond. Pfizer and Moderna each have committed to deliver an additional 100 million doses by the end of July; the companies may be able to deliver even more. A week ago, Pfizer and BioNTech, its German partner, increased their global manufacturing target for the year from 1.3 billion doses to two billion doses.