Per usual, when there's blame to go around, the offices of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio are pointing their fingers at each other. This time it's regarding the slow COVID-19 vaccine distribution in the state. According to the Democrat & Chronicle, "hundreds of thousands of doses" of the vaccine have "languished" in hospital freezers for weeks.
“I still have thousands of slots available," declared Dr. Mitchell Katz, the president and CEO of NYC Health + Hospitals. "I want to put that vaccine in the arms of people who need it.”
One of the highest priorities should be getting the elderly vaccinated. And De Blasio said it was the state restrictions keeping him from allowing the elderly to get those shots. The city has over 560,000 people over the age of 75. As NBC New York reports, health commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi said that the elderly accounted for 6 percent of new citywide cases over the last 30 days, 30 percent of hospitalizations and 58 percent of deaths.
“In the real world, you know that you need freedom and flexibility if you’re really going to vaccinate a lot of people,” de Blasio said. “I’ve got a huge number of folks over 75 who would show up right now if we would allow them to do it – state won’t allow it.”
New York City says it has thousands of slots available to vaccinate New Yorkers and can't use them because of Gov. Cuomo's restrictions.— Emma G. Fitzsimmons (@emmagf) January 7, 2021
"We've got to save lives," Mayor Bill de Blasio pleads, asking again to vaccinate seniors: Who is most vulnerable? Who is most likely to die?
On Friday, the mayor was practically begging Cuomo to let him vaccinate the city's most vulnerable.
Mayor Bill de Blasio is again begging Gov. Cuomo to allow New York City to start vaccinating seniors. He says the city has 560,000 people over 75. "This will be the category of people who want the vaccine the most."— Emma G. Fitzsimmons (@emmagf) January 8, 2021
For those who have been closely following Gov. Cuomo's decision making this past year, including his mandate last March that forced nursing homes to accept recovering COVID patients, this is more "proof" that helping seniors is not high on his list.
Dear God. @NYCMayor is BEGGING @NYGovCuomo to get seniors vaccinated. I never thought I would say this but the Mayor is right and Cuomo, you're just proving once again that you don't give a damn about the elderly. https://t.co/IPUDqFUF2P— Janice Dean (@JaniceDean) January 8, 2021
Cuomo also shot down the mayor's plan to vaccine 25,000 members of the NYPD, after which De Blasio suggested that it was time for the governor to "stand down."
"Why don't we just resolve this and give the city of New York the freedom to vaccinate high-priority people as we see fit so we can speed up the vaccination process?" he said on Thursday. "We understand the maximum we can do on the ground in our communities. Sometimes the federal government, the state government needs to stand back and let local government do what it knows how to do best. This is one of those times."
Just last week Cuomo threatened hospitals who didn't use their vaccines by the end of the week.
"Use it or lose it," he said, telling the hospitals that they won't expect to get anymore shipments, noting that they could also be fined.