Jan 5, 2021

NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo Press Conference Transcript January 5

NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo Press Conference Transcript January 5
RevBlogTranscriptsAndrew Cuomo TranscriptsNY Gov. Andrew Cuomo Press Conference Transcript January 5

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo held a January 5 press conference on COVID-19 in the state. Read the full transcript of his news briefing here.

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Andrew M. Cuomo: (00:02)
Commissioner Howard Zucker. Beth Garvey special counsel, Kelly Cummings Director of Operations. Gareth Rhodes from DFS who’s been working with us on this. Today’s day 311. Here are the numbers statewide positivity without micro clusters, 8.21, with micro clusters, 8.3, micro clusters, 8.8.

Andrew M. Cuomo: (00:26)
Total Results, 152, 000, still a lower level of people getting tested. So it’s going to change somewhat the sample. Statewide deaths up to 149, hospitalizations plus 339, ICU plus 35, [inaudible 00:00:53] plus eight. Finger Lakes, Finger Lakes, Finger Lakes, highest percentage of hospitalization. And you see the numbers across the state.

Andrew M. Cuomo: (01:08)
Again, this makes the point that that variance is due to the behavior of those communities. So your behavior matters. Depending on the behavior of your community is how fast the infection spreads, how many people get sick. Positivity, same thing. New York City positivity, Staten Island and the Bronx, Staten Island is higher than the Bronx today. But again, Bronx, that Nyland, Queens, you’re double Manhattan. You’re double Manhattan. I’m from Queens. I was born in Queens. Queens is a residential community, more residential community. Manhattan is much more dense, more multi-family, more public transportation. What is the demographic explanation for a higher infection rate in Queens, and the Bronx, and Staten Island, and Manhattan? It’s the behavior.

Andrew M. Cuomo: (02:19)
Let’s talk about the vaccine. There are two elements to understand the vaccine. One is the amount of supply we have as a nation, as a state and then one is the distributions. Two very different elements that have to be considered. The supply, the production by the drug companies, the purchasing by the federal government, that’s all a national responsibility, How they can spur the drug companies to do more? How they can wind up buying more from the drug companies? The entire supply is controlled by the Federal Government. We have been getting about 300,000 per week. That’s roughly 1.2 million per month vaccines. Okay?

Andrew M. Cuomo: (03:17)
The state needs 20 million people vaccinated. You have to do that twice. It’s 40 million. Obviously. It’s a very long timeline at this supply rate. So the supply rate has to increase and the supply rate is the limiting factor now. I’ve been talking to the Federal Government about this. There are possibilities that they’re working on. You can acquire more Pfizer and Moderna vaccine. You can approve the AstraZeneca vaccine. You can approve the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, which is a single dose vaccine, which is a lot easier. There are other drug companies that are also working on vaccines. So we hope, pray and expect the supply from the federal government will be increasing, but we need it to increase.

Andrew M. Cuomo: (04:14)
You then go to the distribution side. On distribution, the Federal Government is in charge of some of the distribution in the state and then the state is in charge. Distribution, as we discussed yesterday, think of it in three tronches, nursing homes, hospitals, and what we call special efforts. The nursing home program is run by the Federal Government and it is a national federal program where they said, “We’ll do the nursing homes and we’ll contract nationally with a pharmaceutical change to do the nursing homes.” That has not moved as quickly as we would like to see it moved. The state is now going to step in and expedite that program. We would like to see all nursing home residents vaccinated, first shots within two weeks. They’re doing the staff along with the residents. That would be a very big deal. If we can get the nursing home residents vaccinated.

Andrew M. Cuomo: (05:20)
You then go to the hospitals. 194 hospitals, 24 public hospitals, 170 private hospitals. Obviously the overwhelming effort is done by the private hospitals. We need them to operate and we need them to operate quickly. We put in place the seven day, use it or lose it. There are 194 hospitals. If a hospital is not competent and can’t do this, we’ll use another hospital. It’s very simple. We have 194 hospitals. We have other hospitals who can do it. So I need the best hospitals, with the best management, in the best systems as part of this effort. Because it’s literally a matter of life and death. Right?

Andrew M. Cuomo: (06:13)
And 194 hospitals, like anything else, some are better at certain things than others. And here we need the best with the best management, because the stakes are just too high. On the special efforts that’s where we’re going to talk about state sponsored efforts, drive ins and the social equity efforts, the churches, the community centers, et cetera. Hospitals have been the primary focus because 1A, the people were now vaccinating our healthcare workers. How do you get healthcare workers? You get them through the hospitals. That’s why the focus has been on the hospitals.

Andrew M. Cuomo: (06:57)
Why is the focus on healthcare workers? That’s the CDC guidance of basically every state in the nation has accepted healthcare workers. Because they are the frontline, they are exposed to people with the virus. And if a healthcare worker gets sick, they are then a super spreader. We have it opened for all healthcare workers are now eligible and the hospitals are focusing on the healthcare workers. So far 900,000 vaccines have been distributed for 2.1 million healthcare workers. Obviously we don’t have enough vaccine distributed for all healthcare workers.

Andrew M. Cuomo: (07:42)
Well, let’s open it up to other people, forget the healthcare workers. You can’t forget the healthcare workers. These are the nurses. These are the doctors. These are the people who are on the front line and they are in the greatest risk and they are also the greatest threat. We have a Saratoga jewelry store employee who has COVID that we’re doing the contact tracing, who is in a retail store. A lot of people walk in and out of a retail store, super spreader. What happens if a nurse or a doctor is COVID positive and sees 100 patients during a day? Healthcare workers are the first priority for both reasons. And we’ve only allocated half the vaccine to do the size of that population. That’s why I say a lot of this is a supply issue, as well as a dissemination issue.

Andrew M. Cuomo: (08:46)
If a hospital has done all their healthcare workers and says, “We’re maxed out, we’ve done everyone.” Fine then contact us and we’ll take that supply back and we’ll go to the next tronch, we’ll go to essential workers. But as a group we’ve only distributed half the vaccine necessary to do the Healthcare workers. After we finish 1A, healthcare workers, then we go to 1B, which is essential workers and people who are 75 plus. That’s roughly 2.5 million. So again, you go back to the supply issue. If you’re getting 300,000 vaccines per week, how long will it take you to do 2.5 million people. Right?

Andrew M. Cuomo: (09:42)
On the hospitals, there’s two dimensions. The hospitals now are the focus because the hospitals are focusing on the healthcare workers. Once you get towards 1B, essential workers in 75 plus, then you’re dealing with members of the public. And then we’re going to shift from the focus on the hospitals, to what we call the retail network. What is a retail network? The retail network is a public distribution for essential workers in the general public. And that is already underway.

Andrew M. Cuomo: (10:21)
We have 5,000 pharmacies in this state. You can call a pharmacy and you can get it. We have federally qualified health centers, County Health Departments, urgent care clinics, your private doctor network. We will be supplying all of these outlets with the vaccine to do the distribution when we get to the general public. So the distribution system is going to outpace our supply system right now, which is the way it should be. We should have more distribution capacity than we actually have supply. Right now we’ve enrolled 3,700 providers sites statewide and we’re continuing to grow that.

Andrew M. Cuomo: (11:15)
What are the providers who are going to be doing this? Medical practices, pharmacies long-term care facilities, federally qualified health centers, hospitals will still be doing it. Urgent care facilities will be doing it. Then community centers, rural centers, et cetera. We’ve signed up 100’s in every region across the state. We have 845 signed up distribution centers in New York City that are ready to go, 700 on Long Island, 150 in the North country. So we have a retail network. Retail network is not the best expression because also people don’t have to pay for this vaccine, there’ll be no copay, there’ll be no charge. So retail can be a little misleading, but I couldn’t come up with a better word.

Andrew M. Cuomo: (12:14)
Of the 3,700, 636 already have vaccine. They are distributing vaccine to the healthcare workers along with the hospitals. So healthcare workers can either go to the hospitals that we’ve been discussing, or they can go to 600 sites that are across the state. Of those sites that actually now have vaccine for healthcare workers, 244 federally qualified health centers, then the hospitals, urgent care centers, local health departments. This is where the sites are that can now serve healthcare workers, New York City, 200, Long Island, 105. So there’s a network out there besides these hospitals.

Andrew M. Cuomo: (13:03)
There’s a network out there besides these hospitals where people can go if they’re eligible, if they’re healthcare workers right now. In addition to the hospitals and the retail, there’ll be what we call special efforts. First, I’m asking police departments, fire departments, transit workers, who are going to be essential workers, if they can operationalize their own vaccination system. In other words, New York City Police Department, NYPD, they can organize their own distribution system and vaccination system. The FDNY, New York City Fire Department can operationalize and organize their own system. They have their own employees who can do the vaccines. To the extent we can have the essential workers use their own employees or their own health system provider to do their own vaccines that removes a burden from the retail system, if you will. It removes them from the hospital system.

Andrew M. Cuomo: (14:32)
So New York City Police Department, they could go to the New York City public hospitals for a vaccine, which would then overload the New York City hospitals. Or they could do their own vaccines. FDNY could do their own vaccines. The Teachers Union, the Transit Workers Union, all these frontline essential workers, please now think about organizing your own system so it alleviates the burden on the retail system, which is going to have to be dealing with the general public.

Andrew M. Cuomo: (15:13)
If a police department doesn’t have the capacity to do it, fine. Fire department doesn’t have the capacity to do it, fine. If a Teachers Union doesn’t have a local health provider then fine. But for those larger workforces and those larger unions that can do this, I want you to start thinking about it now, and I would appreciate it because it will take that much burden off the distribution system. And the larger police departments, Buffalo PD, Albany PD, Rochester PD, Syracuse PD, I think many of the larger police departments in the state, we have over 500, but many of the larger ones can the vaccine themselves. Same with the fire departments. EMS EMT, people can do these vaccines. So I’d like them to start thinking about that now because I’d like to reduce the burden on the hospitals and the private system whenever possible.

Andrew M. Cuomo: (16:17)
On the special efforts on top of this retail system, you’re then going to have large state sites that are set up. Javits Center, we’re going to use SUNY, CUNY, where you’ll have drive through vaccine operations. Again, we need the supply to do that, but we are already setting those up. We did it with the COVID testing. We’ll do it again here.

Andrew M. Cuomo: (16:47)
And then I’ve made a point to say this state is going to make a statement to social equity, and we’re going to make sure that the social injustice and the healthcare disparities that we’ve seen are not replicated. I’m going to be getting my vaccine when it’s available for my age group in Black and Latino and poor communities. And we’re going to be setting up pop up vaccination sites in churches and community centers and pharmacies. And that’s a priority for me.

Andrew M. Cuomo: (17:20)
That distribution system I outlined can deliver millions of doses. Again, we’re getting 300,000 per week and we have to wait for that to increase. Again, there’s a lot of possibilities for the Feds to increase supply, but they have to. Last point, the UK Strain is highly problematic and it could be a game-changer. First, for the capital region, we had the case in Saratoga, anyone who was exposed or anyone who was exposed to someone who was exposed, please contact us. There’s nothing to be ashamed of. This is a virus that travels. But we have to know, containment is vitally important here. This is a virus we have to be extra careful with. We spent the morning talking to global experts on this viral strain.

Andrew M. Cuomo: (18:29)
The numbers are frightening on the increase of the transmittal of the virus. Even if the lethality doesn’t go up, the fact that it is so much more transmittable, is a very real problem. And look, we are in a foot race right now, as we said, between the vaccine implementation versus the infection rate and hospitalization capacity. That’s the foot race. This UK Strain changes the whole foot race because the UK Strain, the rate of transmission goes way up. The rate of infection goes way up. And it’s no longer the race that we were running. Apparently, the UK Strain can actually overtake the original COVID strain in a matter of weeks. That’s how quickly it can transmit.

Andrew M. Cuomo: (19:38)
If this is something that we have to watch and we have to pay careful attention to, the UK strain is not only in the UK, it’s in South Africa, it’s in 33 other countries, but it dramatically increases our challenge and we have to be aware of it. This virus has been ahead of us every step of the way. And this country has been playing catch up every step of the way. And it’s time we stop. And it’s time we become more competent. Government was competent. Government is supposed to be competent. Government leaders are supposed to be competent. They’re not supposed to be about excuses and apathy and bureaucracy.

Andrew M. Cuomo: (20:24)
Why do we not have mandatory testing of everyone flying into this country? Why not? Not a travel ban, just mandatory testing. We have gone through this. Just test all international travelers before entry. Tell the airlines, “You have to test them before they get on a plane to come to this country.” Or say, “If you land in this country, we’re not going to allow you in until you take a test.” 140 countries banned or required testing of UK travelers before the United States acted. 140 countries. New York acted before the United States.

Andrew M. Cuomo: (21:24)
I called the airlines and I said, “I want New York to be edited the 140 countries.” And they added New York to the 140 countries. What’s really infuriating. This is what happened to us in last spring. Learn the lesson. The virus left China. The virus went to Europe. It was in Italy. It was in the UK. People got on a plane, came to New York. And that’s why York had the explosion. That’s what I call the COVID ambush. We’ve learned that nothing. So now there’s a second strain and it came from the UK again. And again, the USA did absolutely nothing.

Andrew M. Cuomo: (22:12)
Secretary Azar, Dr. Redfield, how you can explain to the American people, your lack of action, your negligence, your irresponsibility, 140 countries banned people from the UK and you did nothing. You know that there are viral strains in other countries now. You know that is a fact. Why wouldn’t you mandate testing? How many times do you have to learn the same lesson over and over? What happened to competent leadership in government? The USA must act. If the United States won’t act, then New York State will act. But I can’t allow people to fly into this state who we know are coming from countries that have other viral strains. New York loves being the gateway. We welcome people from all across the globe. We are on the Eastern seaboard. That’s always been our role. That’s how we all wound up here. We celebrate it. But to allow the virus to be landing at our airports and to make New York a petri dish and the federal government does nothing. I can’t allow that to happen. I wouldn’t be doing my job as governor of the State of New York. Let’s take some questions.

Speaker 1: (23:54)
Thank you, Governor. If you would like to ask a question, please use the Raise Hand function at the bottom of your window. We’ll take a brief moment to compile the Q&A roster. Governor, your first question comes from Jeff Cole of WWNY. Jeff, your line is now open. Please unmute your microphone.

Jeff Cole : (24:19)
Governor, good morning. You can hear me okay?

Andrew M. Cuomo: (24:22)
I can hear you, Jeff. How are we doing?

Jeff Cole : (24:24)
Not bad. Hello from Watertown. There’s a lot of COVID data online when it comes to hospitals and how many doses that they have been given and how many that they have used. There’s a deadline that you set. Is New York going to require this information to be reported and posted online? We’re finding that some hospitals don’t want to be very transparent with that.

Andrew M. Cuomo: (24:44)
Yeah, this is a little bit of a work in progress. We posted online when, I don’t know if we did it. I guess we considered online. We released yesterday the 10 fastest than the 10 slowest and it’s Department of Health data that they confirmed. By the way, it embarrassed some hospitals that were slow performers. It wound up showing some hospitals that were performing very well. And the ones who were performing very well were happy. And the ones who were shown to be slow were upset. But life is about accountability. Some of the hospital management said in defense things that were not true. The data that was reported was not for allocations they had just received. It was from allocations they had received over the first two weeks and not the most recent allocation. So they were slow in-

Andrew M. Cuomo: (26:01)
They were slow in distributing older allocations. Also, you have some hospitals who have only done half their workforce. Now, we’ve only had enough allocation for half of the workforce, the healthcare workforce, but some have only done half the workforce. We have to do better than vaccinating half of our healthcare workers. If a hospital says only half of their employees will take the vaccine, we have a problem. Critical mass on this vaccine is 70 to 90%. healthcare workers who are the most informed, I don’t think it’s it’s possible or credible that only half of them will take the vaccine. I have also been deluged with phone calls of healthcare workers saying, “I can’t get a vaccine and I’m going out there every day, and I haven’t gotten a vaccine.” It’s a combination of slow hospitals and we’ve only had half the allocation for the healthcare workers from the federal government.

Andrew M. Cuomo: (27:29)
Now, when I talk about slow hospitals, I have greatest respect for nurses and doctors. I’m sure they’re all doing everything they can, and they’ve done a fantastic job. It’s the leadership that I’m talking about. The nation at war and the army keeps losing, president calls and fires the general. It’s not a comment on the soldiers. Soldiers are killing themselves. The general gets fired. End of the losing football season, it’s the coach that gets fired. It’s about the leadership. It’s nothing about the nurses and the doctors. It’s about the leadership. It’s about the management. Always is, and that’s taking responsibility and accountability. We’ll continue to release the high and the low performers, but I don’t know that the data is ready to a place where we could distribute it widely. Is that fair enough?

Speaker 2: (28:43)
Yeah, and as the governor said, we have 636 providers who have enrolled. These numbers grow, who are currently getting the vaccine. This number is going to grow. It’s important that they are aware of what data they need to submit. They’re submitting it timely in an accurate manner until we can work through that with them, and then as Governor said, our plan is to have a public dashboard as soon as we can, but we want to make sure that the information we’re putting out there, everyone can rely on.

Andrew M. Cuomo: (29:07)
Yeah, and just to be clear, the figures that we used yesterday were the first three weeks of allocation. We’re in the fourth week, we did not include this week’s allocation. This is from the preceding week one, week two, week three. If they want to complain about accountability, know your facts, and facts are facts. I think hospitals shouldn’t complain about the transparency, because if you’re doing your job, then what are you worried about? If you’re not doing your job with a vaccine that could be the matter of life and death, then people have a right to know. Next question, operator.

Speaker 1: (30:04)
Thank you, Governor. You now have Keisha Clucky from Bloomberg. Keisha, your line is now open. Please unmute your microphone.

Keisha Clucky: (30:11)
Hi Governor. Thanks for taking my question. If you don’t mind, just two-fold in there, why are the hospitals so slow? Is it possible that they maybe were over allocated vaccines and then also, what’s the legal ramification or legal side to fining the hospitals, particularly public hospitals as well, if you fine the public hospital systems, wouldn’t that just hurt the state in terms of funding? Thank you.

Andrew M. Cuomo: (30:45)
Yeah. On the hospitals, 1A is hospital, healthcare workers. Using the hospitals to distribute to healthcare workers makes eminent sense. As I mentioned, we also have 600 other places in the state, retail outlets, 600 other retail outlets where healthcare workers can go now to receive the vaccine. It was primarily through the hospitals, because that’s where the healthcare workers are. Many of them have done a great job. Some of them are slow. Some have been at 99%. Some of them are at 15%, whatever it was on the bottom. There’s a very wide spectrum. Were they over-allocated? No, because our allocation is we’ve only received enough vaccine for half of the healthcare workers. We’ve only received enough vaccine for half of the healthcare workers. No, we don’t have enough vaccine to go to all healthcare workers. Then why are they slow? A variety of reasons.

Andrew M. Cuomo: (32:07)
These are 194 hospitals. Some of them frankly operate better than others. It’s like anything else in life. You take 194 barbershops. Some are going to operate better than others. You take 194 government agencies. Some are going to operate better than others. You take 194 city governments. Some mayors are better than others. You take 50 States. Some governors are better than others. It’s the marketplace. It’s human nature. They have a whole host of reasons, but we can’t … We have to vaccinate the healthcare workers. Now again, we have 194 hospitals. If a hospital doesn’t do it well, that’s fine, but then I want to use a hospital that does do it well.

Andrew M. Cuomo: (33:13)
Let me take a step back. We have two issues. For the hospitals that now have the vaccine, I need them to get that vaccine in people’s arms. If they don’t do that, they can get fined or we can retrieve the allocation. Retrieving the allocation is a problem because this is refrigerated. It’s not easy to transport. For those hospitals that have it already, use it or lose it, you won’t get any more and you can be fined. Going forward, we just won’t use those hospitals again. There are other hospitals. Use the hospitals that are better at administration, and are faster and more efficient at doing the job.

Andrew M. Cuomo: (34:04)
We have 194 hospitals. We don’t have to use every hospital, and we’re going to have thousands of retail centers. We want to use the hospitals that are better at doing it. I’ve spoken to dozens of hospitals. It’s a function of that hospital. You have hospitals where they’ve only done half their employees after four weeks. How do you explain that? Well, the other half wouldn’t take it. That would be a real debacle. Well, we didn’t have a chance to do it. Dr. Zucker is the great defender of the hospitals being as he’s the doctor, so I’ll ask him for his rationale.

Dr. Howard Zucker: (34:55)
I think the Governor’s nailed all the key points here. The hospital systems, I’ve spoken to several hospital CEOs, they need to be aggressive and they recognize this. Some are just more efficient at moving things forward. I think that they’ll push forward to get all those vaccines in employees’ arms, and I remain optimistic about that.

Andrew M. Cuomo: (35:20)
Look, your point about the fine. This is not about money. This is about saving lives. We’re not really interested in collecting fines. We’re really interested in for those hospitals who now have the allocation and are slow, move the allocation. Move it quickly, we’re serious. If you don’t want to be fined, just don’t participate in the program. It’s not a mandatory program. We don’t have to have all 194 hospitals. Just say, “I don’t want to do it.” That’s fine. We have plenty of hospitals and I’d rather use the better performing hospitals. The situation we’re in is we’ve already allocated to all the hospitals. Again, as I said before, it’s hard to get it back. If a hospital calls up and says, “I’m going to use this allocation and then I want out,” fine. That’s totally fine. Next question.

Speaker 1: (36:42)
Thank you, Governor. You now have Emily Burkhart of WNYT. Emily, your line is now open. Please unmute your microphone.

Emily Burkhart: (36:49)
Hi, Governor. I was curious if you could tell us a little bit more about whether or not Wadsworth has been able to determine if the other cases found at the jewelry store in Saratoga are in fact, a result of the UK strain. I’m also curious if the State Department of Health is stepping in with contact tracing. We’ve reported on issues in Saratoga County before, and now that the strain is supposedly more transmissible, is the state stepping in to help with that?

Andrew M. Cuomo: (37:17)
All good questions. We’re going to turn them right over to the Commissioner of the Department of Health, since they’re all specifically Department of Health questions.

Dr. Howard Zucker: (37:26)
Thank you. With regards to the contract tracing, we’re doing an aggressive contact tracing of all of those who were in the store. This has been taking place since the minute we learned about this. Regarding the issue of the testing, and do we have any further information? It takes 44 hours or so to do the actual genome testing. We learned about this yesterday. We got the samples yesterday and we are doing this. As soon as we have answers, we can provide that. I will note that we do this a lot quicker, a lot more efficiently than the federal government. The CDC takes a lot longer than that, and other states report it takes several weeks to get results back from the federal government. We’re moving very quickly on this regarding the samples that have come to see whether the other individuals had the UK strain or have the UK strain. Thank you.

Andrew M. Cuomo: (38:15)
Actually, it’s a very involved test for this UK strain. It takes the CDC two weeks to do a test. It takes Wadsworth about 40 hours to do a test. As you know, the normal COVID test is very quick. It is a complicated situation. Again, just to make sure I was clear on the hospitals, we had distributed it to all hospitals in the state. Going forward, we’ll just distribute it to the hospitals that do a better job, because we’ll have other options also. In the meantime, for those hospitals that already have the allocation, get it out, get it out, get it out. Question operators, that …

Andrew M. Cuomo: (39:02)
… Question operators. I’ll take a new question, please.

Speaker 1: (39:04)
Thank you, sir. Next question comes from Peter Haskell at WCBS Radio. Peter, your line is now open. Please unmute your microphone.

Peter Haskell: (39:15)
Hey Governor. I’ve got questions about these retail sites. So, a few of them quickly. To have the staff to cover all these sites, when do you expect they’ll open? And then, how do people sign up? People hear they’re going to have this opportunity. Where do they go? How do they do it? Do they need to prove they’re eligible, an essential worker or otherwise? And should we expect to see lines like we’ve seen in other places?

Andrew M. Cuomo: (39:50)
Okay. Good to hear your voice, Peter. We’re not there yet, first of all. We’re getting 300,000 vaccines right now a week. We’ve distributed 900,000 vaccines for a 2 million population of healthcare workers. Obviously to get through healthcare workers, if you’re doing 300,000 per week, you need another four weeks of allocation before you can get out of healthcare workers, roughly, roughly. Before you finish 1-A and you move to 1-B. 1-B opens essential workers and general public over 75 years old.

Andrew M. Cuomo: (40:47)
Could you move a little faster from healthcare workers? Look, if you have a hospital now that says I did all my healthcare workers and I have an extra allocation, contact us and we’ll move it. It would be a very bad sign if a hospital said only half of my healthcare workers will take the vaccine. Obviously that’s a bad sign for the overall effectiveness of the herd immunity program, which is 70 to 90%. And also, I don’t believe it. I don’t believe a hospital that says only half my workers will take it. I can tell you I’m deluged with phone calls from healthcare workers who are saying, “I want the vaccine. I can’t get it.”

Andrew M. Cuomo: (41:48)
We expect about a 70% acceptance rate of the vaccine. Federal officials will say 70 to 90. I don’t think you ever get near 90. I think if I was offering to give away cash to New Yorkers, I don’t think we’d have a 90% acceptance rate. But a 30% refusal, 25% refusal is what we expect to see from the healthcare community. But not 50%.

Andrew M. Cuomo: (42:26)
So, the retail component is this: Every year you do the flu vaccine. Who administers the flu vaccine? The private market administers the flu vaccine. Roughly probably half the people in the state take the flu vaccine and it’s very little government involvement. There’s a whole private market that can distribute vaccines. We now have today, Peter, in New York City, 200 retail outlets for you to get a vaccine. Just check that number.

Speaker 1: (43:17)
207 In New York City.

Andrew M. Cuomo: (43:18)
207. I know you’re specific, Peter. If I said 200 and it was 207. 207 retail outlets today in New York City where you can get a vaccine if you are eligible. Now you’d have to go there and prove that you are a healthcare worker. EMS, EMT, doctor, nurse, et cetera. And you have to show proof of that at that facility.

Andrew M. Cuomo: (43:49)
Next traunch, the essential workers. What I’m asking today is as many essential workers, police, fire, teachers, transit workers, as many of them as can use their own networks, that would be great. Their own networks, meaning either their employees can vaccinate that unit, police have EMS, EMT, fire department, fire department can vaccinate police, et cetera. Teachers have a health care network. Transit workers have a healthcare network. As many of them that can handle it themselves, great. Otherwise we have the retail system.

Andrew M. Cuomo: (44:45)
The retail system will be hospitals, will be pharmacies, 5,000 pharmacies in the state, just the way you do a flu vaccine, will be federally qualified health centers, will be urgent care centers, will be local health departments. And when you get to the general population, it’s easier, Peter, because the main criteria is going to be your age. So, your license would do it, right? There are many pieces of ID that can actually document your age.

Andrew M. Cuomo: (45:25)
But again, this is down the road. But that retail system has been used in the past. We’ve been using it now to do the COVID testing, right? So, we’ll implement that. And then we’ll have supplemental efforts as we did with COVID testing. State sponsored drive through sites. Javits Center will operationalize. And then special outreach to Black, Latino, and poor communities. So, that’s where we are. Let’s take one more.

Speaker 1: (46:08)
Thank you, Governor. Your final question comes from Michael Gormley of News Day. Michael, your line is now open. Please unmute your microphone.

Michael Gormley: (46:19)
Hello, Governor. On the healthcare workers refusing to get the vaccine, can’t you can’t you direct them to do that? And I believe that some healthcare workers are already required to get the flu vaccine every year. And then it just as an aside to that, if I can, if you could allow us to resume having follow-up questions that might be helpful for the public and for you. I know you’ve wanted us to clarify some of our questions in the past and we weren’t able to talk to you. Thank you.

Andrew M. Cuomo: (46:52)
Thank you, Michael. We have not crossed the bridge to say, “By law you must take it.” Yes. Well, there is a legal question as to whether or not, with what’s called an emergency authorization, you can … This is an emergency authorization, a federal approval. There is a complicated legal question as to whether or not you can mandate a person take a vaccine that is authorized as an emergency authorization.

Andrew M. Cuomo: (47:38)
But besides the legal question, we haven’t gotten there yet because I don’t know that it is going to be an issue. You’re right, we went through this with measles. But I don’t know. And you’re right, you have a legal argument, especially with healthcare employees that you can say to a healthcare employee, “You need to take the vaccine as a part of your job.” We’re not there yet. I don’t believe the refusal rate is going to be that high. I think doctors get it. But Beth can speak to the legal question about the emergency authorization use.

Beth: (48:29)
Yes. Governor, that’s correct. So, with an emergency use authorization as these vaccines have, there are more complicated questions, especially for those in vulnerable population groups that have not been studied as part of these clinical trials. But we will continue to look at it and we will continue to monitor.

Andrew M. Cuomo: (48:52)
Okay. Anyone have anything else? Additions, deletions, omissions, commissions? Thank you very much. Have a nice day.

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