The first shipment of Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine could arrive in New York as early as this weekend, meaning that nursing home residents and staff along with "high risk" healthcare workers could start getting shots soon, Governor Andrew Cuomo said.

During a press conference in Albany, Cuomo said the state is expecting 170,000 doses of the vaccine, which is set to undergo emergency approval on Thursday.

Of those doses, 72,000 will be sent to New York City, according to the governor. The allocation to states and municipalities is based on the numbers of healthcare workers and nursing home residents.

The governor once again underscored the challenge of vaccinating the more than 19 million New Yorkers in the state. Experts have said that 75% of the population needs to be vaccinated in order to achieve herd immunity. A recent Siena poll found that roughly two thirds of New Yorkers said they would definitely or probably get the vaccine when it is approved.

"The scale of vaccinating of every person in your state is just massive," Cuomo said.

By December 21st, vaccinations should have begun for nursing home staff and residents. Under a federal program the state has opted into, employees from the pharmacy chains CVS and Walgreens will perform the vaccinations in nursing homes.

City officials have provided their own estimates on when and how much of the vaccine would arrive this month. The city's health commissioner, Dr. Dave Chokshi, has said that by December 15th, 254,250 doses of the Pfizer vaccine will be delivered to New York City. A week later, the city expects to receive 211,275 doses of Moderna's vaccine, which has also yet to be approved by federal regulators.

Under the state's plan, hospitals will vaccinate roughly 90,000 workers, or 40% of the total workforce, who are considered at highest risk for contracting COVID-19. They include emergency room workers, ICU staff, and those in the pulmonary department.

Cuomo said that shots for all high risk staff is expected to be completed by the second week of vaccinations.

Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses as well as cold storage. Pfizer needs to be stored at minus 70 degrees Celsius, while Moderna has said that its vaccine can be kept at minus 20 Celsius, which is similar to a regular freezer.

The state has identified 90 regional distribution centers to house the vaccines in cold storage.

In New York City, 50 hospitals are set to have ultra-cold freezers to store the vaccine, while the Health Department can store hundreds of thousands of doses as well.

The governor also said that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had agreed not to require any sensitive identifying data from vaccinated patients. Last month, Cuomo balked at the federal government's request for personal data as part of its vaccination program, saying that the information could be used by the Trump administration to detain undocumented residents.

Other states also expressed concern over the requirements outlined in the federal government's data use agreements.

The White House has said that that the federal government's data use agreement with states would "under no circumstances" require social security numbers, passport numbers, or driver’s license numbers.