We got some good news when we learned a slowdown in vaccine shipments to some states would not impact New York, and federal officials cleared the state to administer a surprise quantity of additional dosages of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine Friday after medical officials found each vial contained more of the vaccine than anticipated.
Earlier this month, state officials said Pfizer’s first shipment of 170,000 dosages contained five doses per vial. Each vial holds at least six, or even seven, doses per container — between a 20% and 40% increase, or 36,000 and 68,000 more injections.
Luck played a part here because it depended on how much each person would get. An exact number on that would have been impossible to predict. Some may hold enough for a sixth dose, some may hold a seventh dose. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized the state to administer the additional doses.
This will increase the number of doses that the state has. The supply of vaccines is bigger than state officials thought. The news was a surprise and a little bit of a mistake, but it was a mistake that turned out well for New Yorkers.
The state’s vaccination program is running as planned and no changes that will significantly impact the schedule are anticipated. But we’re not through yet. State health experts expect it will take between six and nine months, or until summer or early fall 2021, to reach herd immunity, or vaccinating between 75% and 85% of the population. There is much more work to be done.