By JOLIE BAYNES

Gov. Andrew Cuomo gave what he called “a Christmas gift” to the press and public on Thursday: the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine.

Cuomo, in a theatrical display at his press briefing, unboxed the vaccine and explained how it would have to be handled to be most effective. He started by opening the box and removing the top cover, and dry ice trays. Both are essential to the vaccine’s longevity as it has to remain frozen, and vials can only be unboxed for 60 seconds if not intended for use.

The first doses of the vaccine were not expected in New York until December 15.

The governor went on to explain how each vial of vaccine contained five doses and had to be thawed for six hours and diluted in order to use.

“This is the weapon that wins the Covid war,” he said, noting skepticism of its safety and efficacy by some segments of the public. “People are going to have to accept this vaccine.”

Studies show that some 75% of the state population needs to be vaccinated to stop the spread, but 50% of New Yorkers tell pollsters they won’t take it.

Crystal Grimes, a medical technician, has been home since the beginning of the pandemic. She did not volunteer to help as a front line worker during the surge as she has underlying health issues, and two grandparents at home. She in fact is skeptical about taking the vaccine.

“I think they rushed this vaccine, and there are bound to be side effects that they don’t know about yet,” she said. She intends to wait to see how the vaccine affects people with particular
health issues before she takes the two-dose vaccine herself.

New York’s Covid positivity rate stands at 5.92%, and climbing.

Cuomo tried to reassure his fellow citizens by saying, “ I would never ask any New Yorker to take a vaccine that I wouldn’t take myself.”

Then, in a dramatic flourish, he pledged to take the vaccine on camera as he did with the Covid test.