Cuomo faults federal government for shorting states on Covid vaccines

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 January 2021 at 12:19 pm

The Governor’s Office provided this chart showing how much of the vaccines have been administered so far.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo acknowledged the frustrations of many in the state with trying to get a Covid-19 vaccine.

The governor said the federal government has expanded the eligibility for the vaccine while reducing the weekly allotments to New York.

The CDC earlier this week expanded the eligibility of senior ctiizens from 75 and older to 65 and older. And that was before the state had worked through the 1a population, mainly healthcare workers and nursing home residents.

The CDC guidelines make 7 million New Yorkers currently eligible for the vaccine but the state only received 300,000 doses last week, and it dropped to 250,000 this week, Cuomo said.

“Our constraint is the federal supply and that is creating a scheduling backlog, and it’s creating pressure on what was supposed to be the prioritization process,” Cuomo said on Friday.

The state is scheduling appointments, and the distributors are fully booked 14 weeks in advance.

“There was no increase in supply and in the meantime, there was a dramatic increase in the eligibility,” Cuomo said. “So, now you increase the eligibility, you don’t increase the supply, and now you have a very complicated situation.”

Hawley: Let locals be part of vaccine distribution plan

State Assemblyman Steve Hawley, R-Batavia, and the Republican conference sent a letter to Cuomo and Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker, calling on them to include local home rule authorities in the process of developing vaccine distribution plans. The letter was drafted in response to reports that vaccine distribution has been slow and ineffective in New York state, with some vaccine doses reportedly being wastefully disposed of due to improper storage.

“What we do in these next few weeks with vaccine distribution will determine how much tragedy we will all have to endure as a state, so we need to act now to get these vaccines to the people that need them most, as quickly as possible,” Hawley said in a news release. “We need to give the people who know their communities better than anyone a say in planning vaccine distribution, because a singular top-down approach will not work for the varied and unique communities that make up New York State. Getting these vaccines out effectively and promptly will save lives, and we cannot afford to let even a single dose of the vaccine go to waste during this unprecedented public health crisis.”

Vaccine distribution network expanding

Cuomo said the state’s vaccine distribution network is expanding rapidly – almost 5,000 pharmacies, 194 hospitals, 2,500 private doctor networks, city departments of health, 58 county departments of health and state mass vaccination sites.

Some regions are doing better than others in getting out the vaccine. The Finger Lakes Region, which includes Orleans and eight other counties, had administered 76 percent of its doses, the lowest percentage of the 10 regions. The Southern Tier is the highest at 95 percent.

Cuomo said the state needs more people trained to administer the vaccine shots. So far 827,000 total doses have been administered – 731,000 first doses and 96,000 second doses.

“Get needles in the arms,” Cuomo said. “We want to do better. The faster you get people the vaccine, the better for them and the better for the entire state.”