A Manhattan health care center that has been sitting on hundreds of doses of the coronavirus vaccine for two weeks has finally gotten approval to distribute the unused doses in a manner compliant with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s strict rules.
Callen-Lorde Health Center received 600 doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine two weeks ago, as first reported by The New York Times, which was more than the clinic needed. As a result, about half of those doses sat in storage – because the clinic was unsure how they could be used in a way that did not violate state guidance.
A spokesperson for Callen-Lorde told Fox News on Friday that it received approval to begin distributing the doses in a manner compliant with regulations.
"We got the green light this week from the state to begin vaccinating community partners that fit the current criteria and have started to vaccinate those folks," the spokesperson said. "We are now in conversations with an additional 10 community partners to begin vaccinating their staff next week."
However, as of Friday the center still had just shy of 300 doses remaining, indicative of the flawed rollout patterns observed in states throughout the U.S. at a time when confirmed virus cases are soaring.
"It's critically important that we distribute every dose we have as equitably and efficiently as possible," Dr. Peter Meacher, chief medical officer at Callen-Lorde, said in a statement. "The uncertainty about supply makes this incredibly difficult, but at the end of the day, we have an urgent responsibility to get the vaccine into the arms of our patients as quickly as possible."
As previously reported by Fox News, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has also been frustrated by New York state’s guidelines – after his plan to vaccinate the NYPD was struck down by the rules this week.
He urged the state to give his office "freedom to vaccinate" on Thursday.
According to the state’s guidelines, the first tier of the vaccines are to be distributed to high risk hospital workers, EMS workers, urgent care providers, residents and staff at nursing homes – among a few other select groups.
New York is among many states where the vaccine rollout proceeded at a slower-than-expected pace.
California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom said earlier this week that state officials were working to accelerate the vaccine distributions in his state, which is in the midst of a devastating outbreak.
"It's gone too slowly," Newsom said during a press conference. "I know for many of us, all of us, I think we want to see 100% of what's received immediately administered in people's arms, and so that's a challenge."
Newsom said 454,000 doses had been administered as of Sunday. The state is working to allow more providers eligibility to distribute the vaccine, like dental offices for example.
Meanwhile, throughout the country as a whole, health care facilities had distributed more than 6.8 million doses of the vaccine as of Friday. But the government had predicted that 20 million people would be vaccinated by the end of December.