NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Montefiore New Rochelle Hospital is in big trouble with the Cuomo administration after allowing some city workers and board of education staff to get the COVID-19 vaccine before they were eligible.
The state health department says Montefiore New Rochelle committed an “egregious violation of the state’s clearly defined guidelines for the COVID-19 vaccine” by giving shots to dozens of New Rochelle cops, DPW workers, board of education employees and other City Hall personnel on Wednesday and Thursday before the Cuomo administration deemed them eligible.
“Providers must follow the rules … and you can’t give the vaccine to people who are not eligible for the vaccine,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
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Cuomo’s health department is investigating and says Montefiore may face penalties and fines. The health department released the following statement —
“DOH is investigating this egregious violation of the state’s clearly defined guidelines for the COVID-19 vaccine. As we’ve said repeatedly, current eligibility for the vaccine is limited to health care and hospital workers, seniors living in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, and people with disabilities living in congregate settings. The facility is facing potential sanctions and penalties for these violations and its vaccine supply will be reallocated to the County Health Department.”
The situation caused much confusion in New Rochelle.
City schools released a schedule for vaccinating all teachers and staff at Montefiore before the hospital pulled the plug.
Montefiore is blaming a miscommunication with the state for the mix-up.
A hospital worker told CBS2’s Tony Aiello off-camera she feels terrible for the teachers who thought they were getting vaccinated.
“My sense is there was a probably mix-up, promises that weren’t kept. Apparently there was a mix-up between Montefiore being told one thing and then when they expedite things, it gets cancelled,” she said.
The hospital released the following statement Friday night —
“Montefiore regrets any confusion about its lack of compliance with the state Department of Health’s vaccine roll-out guidelines. We are fully committed to supporting the fair and equitable distribution of the vaccine and will work closely with the state to ensure we remain in compliance moving forward.”
The city says it is asking that workers who received the Moderna vaccine prematurely be allowed to receive the second dose in the prescribed 28 days.
The city released the following statement —
“We were informed by Montefiore New Rochelle that, at the State’s direction, vaccines would be made available to City and School District employees, and we began a rollout on that basis. We subsequently learned that Montefiore misinterpreted State guidelines and, therefore, vaccination of City and School District employees has been suspended, except for Fire Fighters who are eligible for the vaccine as EMTs. New Rochelle will continue to adhere rigorously to State directives and standards.”
City and school officials say this clearly was an error by Montefiore, but they believe the hospital acted in good faith.
They are closely following the ever-changing guidance from the governor regarding when workers in this so-called 1b category can schedule and receive their shots.
The status of Montefiore New Rochelle Hospital’s ability to give vaccinations remains unclear. Westchester County says the hospital complied with a state order and turned its vaccine supply over to the county health department.
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