New York’s two famously feuding politicians are in disagreement again — over the distribution of the coronavirus vaccine.
On Thursday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio demanded that Governor Andrew Cuomo expand the number of people who can be vaccinated for COVID-19 “today”.
The mayor explained why he announced on Wednesday that 25,000 NYPD officers and a number of corrections officers would be able to receive vaccines.
But shortly after the mayor’s statements, the governor disagreed.
“We were ready to go and do a huge vaccination effort at the Department of Correction and the NYPD, but we were told by the state that they would not allow that,” de Blasio said Thursday.
De Blasio said Albany’s criteria include first responders who “perform CPR,” “use basic life support equipment” and “treat people in shock”.
“What do patrol officers do? Of course, they have to be ready to be able to perform CPR at a moment’s notice,” the mayor said. “Of course they have to be able to use lifesaving equipment and deal with any kind of emergency of any type. What is gray here?”
At the crux of the dispute is that if enough people prioritized to receive the vaccine first decide not to get it, then should it go to the next prioritized group?
Phase 1A, which includes front-line hospital workers and people in nursing homes, is underway. But de Blasio has argued that phase 1B, which includes people 75 and older and first responders, should begin now because about 30 percent of the 1A category in the city not registered to receive the vaccine.
“The state has NOT conveyed when or how 1B will begin. There are not clear guidelines about remaining doses or recipients from 1A,” mayoral spokesman Bill Neidhardt said.
“We’re at the front line,” de Blasio said. “Like in war, the generals are at back at the headquarters. … At the frontline, here’s what we’re seeing — a lot of people aren’t ready to take the vaccine, there are some people adamantly opposed to taking the vaccine in those categories within 1A.
“If I’ve got an essential worker or a first responder who is ready right now and we have really efficient ways to reach them because they’re part of the government — we can organize within our agencies very efficiently — there’s no reason to hold that back,” the mayor said.
“If you had a world where everyone said, ‘I 100 percent want the vaccine’ … then the governor’s theory would make a lot of sense.”