NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo heated up his battle with the White House over the tens of millions of COVID-19 vaccine doses needed for the state, saying Sunday he’s poised to sue if the rollout is withheld.
“COVID doesn’t discriminate. Neither should we,” Cuomo said at Riverside Church in Morningside Heights.
The governor spent the day getting some amens after vowing the federal government will not push New Yorkers to the back of the line for shots of vaccine, CBS2’s Dave Carlin reported.
President Donald Trump had argued New York’s plans to independently review any vaccine may justify it going elsewhere first.
Cuomo said without a vaccine review too many people won’t trust it.
“So New York and other states, seven in total, will simultaneously review the vaccine approved with independent medical experts so people know it’s safe,” Cuomo said.
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The governor said members of minority communities die of COVID-19 at twice the rate of whites and he pointed to surveys claiming 50% of Americans are reluctant to get vaccinated early on.
No vaccine initially is the plan for a Mount Vernon mom of three boys, and Carlin asked her why.
When asked if it is because she doesn’t trust a vaccine or doesn’t trust the government, the woman said, “A bit of both. I mean, the system is broken period and until I see a progression … equality all the way around, I’m going to be hesitant.”
Helping the state prep for potential legal action, Dr. Hazel Dukes, the president of the NAACP’s New York State Conference, said, “We’re going to fight to make sure that we get it.”
Added Marc Morial, president of the National Urban League, “Any vaccine distribution plan that short changes Black New Yorkers, brown New Yorkers, poor New Yorkers won’t stand in the state.”
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Cuomo said to distribute vaccine primarily at hospitals and health centers does not go far enough.
“We need to enlist community groups to distribute the vaccine in their community. We need faith-based groups that the community trusts to distribute the vaccine,” the governor said.
Cuomo said it will take an army of outreach teams backed with federal funding to deliver vaccine fairly to the residents of all neighborhoods.
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