Cuomo deflects blame for slow vaccine rollout, says federal government not doing its part

Cuomo deflects blame for slow vaccine rollout, says federal government not doing its part

FILE - NY Andrew Cuomo 12-16-2020
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a news briefing Dec. 16, 2020, from the Red Room at the state Capitol in Albany. Flickr / Gov. Andrew Cuomo

(The Center Square) – Facing mounting criticism about the state’s COVID-19 vaccination distribution program, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the federal government has bungled the entire process.

After being told by Washington the state would get 300,000 doses weekly, Cuomo said the state received only 250,000 last week. But that happened as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expanded the groups eligible to start receiving the vaccine.

Last week, Cuomo said there were 7 million New Yorkers eligible for vaccinations. On Friday, after federal officials provided definitions for younger adults with preexisting conditions to qualify, Cuomo said that in-state number shot up to about 12 million.

At this point, Cuomo quipped it would be easier to report a list of people not eligible to receive a vaccine. He equated the issue to opening of floodgates.

“And that entire flood has to go through a syringe,” Cuomo said “All this volume, and it has to go through the point of a needle, literally and figuratively. That’s the situation that the federal government created.”

State Republican officials, though, say that the governor bears some blame for the situation as well.

State GOP Chairman Nick Langworthy called the distribution system an outrage.

“Every day that goes by, there is a new horrifying development of mismanagement and incompetence, which is hardly a surprise given the governor and his taxpayer-funded staff are spending all their time giving speeches and tweeting political attacks,” Langworthy said. “‘Blame Me, Blame Me,’ cried Cuomo as he took total control. Well, we do. This is a crisis of unprecedented proportions and it needs to be fixed immediately before another New Yorker unnecessarily loses their life at the hands of his incompetence.”

New Yorkers on Twitter have complained about the state’s vaccination registration website. They say it crashes or times out repeatedly as they try to get an appointment for themselves or their loved ones.

In one bit of positive news, Cuomo said the vaccination rate for nursing homes across the state has reached 96 percent and should be completed by Sunday. The state participated in the federal rollout program in those long-term care facilities, but earlier this month, Cuomo said the state had to add personnel to the pharmacies contracted by Washington to administer those doses.

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