New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo outlined measures he plans to use to accelerate the pace of Covid-19 vaccinations in his state. Cuomo acknowledged the vaccine rollout has fallen short of expectations. He announced that hospitals will be fined and denied further allocations of the vaccine if they don’t use up their doses by the end of this week.
In the future, hospitals will have seven days to use up their allocation Mr. Cuomo said Monday. He also will propose a law making any fraud in the distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine a crime, including situations where people falsify records to skip the line, give vaccines to family, or sell the vaccine.
“This vaccine can be like gold to some people,” Mr. Cuomo said. Organized crime family members refused to comment on Gov. Cuomo’s valuation of the vaccine.
Hospitals have lagged behind in their efforts, with some lacking “a sense of urgency,” Dr. Howard Zucker, commissioner of the New York State Health Department, said Monday. Dr. Zucker has been one of the most ineffective public health officials in the COVID-19 crisis, overstating the impact of pediatric COVID-19 illness in June and generally providing little leadership.
In addition to the rollout issues, Dr. Zucker reported that vaccine hesitancy remains a problem in NYC. About 10% of New York nursing-home residents and 15% of staff employees have refused to take a coronavirus vaccine when offered.
To me, compared to the 80% shortfall in giving the vaccines, a 10-15% vaccine reluctance seems like a non-issue! For all we know, given what’s happened in NYC, these folks have already been infected and are immune!
Hospitals in New York are currently stressed with caring for COVID-19 patients. New York has had 395,000 new cases of Covid-19 since Thanksgiving, and more than 8,200 people were hospitalized in the state on Monday, up from 3,103 people on Thanksgiving, according to Mr. Cuomo. This might be contributing to the distribution problem.
Mr. Cuomo said Monday that he wants public-hospital systems to be held accountable for the percentage of Covid-19 vaccine that is moved out the door. Any patient-facing health-care worker can now receive the Covid-19 vaccine, Mr. Cuomo added. “I want to get needles in the arms,” he said.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city set a goal of administering one million Covid-19 vaccine doses by the end of January. To reach that goal, however, Mr. de Blasio said the city would need to double weekly capacity and get support from all levels of government. I am not even sure what that means!
Given the disaster Mr. Cuomo created for New York health care facilities in April and May with his discharge of COVID-19 infected patients to nursing facilities, maybe he should be trying to help hospitals in distributing the vaccine rather than fining them.
It could be that there won’t be any hospital willing to distribute COVID-19 vaccine in New York if the result is that they are fined for not meeting the Governor’s “goals.”