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NY governor criticizes federal COVID-19 vaccination plan, threatens legal action

Xinhua | Updated: 2020-11-16 09:03
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A screengrab from the web stream of shows New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo delivering a speech at the Riverside Church in New York City's borough of Manhattan, Nov 15, 2020. [Photo/Xinhua]

NEW YORK -- New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo on Sunday once again criticized the Donald Trump administration's vaccine distribution plan, saying its inequities will hurt the country and its people.

"The Trump administration's proposed plan is such an affront. I tell you today if the Trump administration does not change this plan and does not provide an equitable vaccine process, we will enforce our legal rights, we will bring legal action to protect New Yorkers," said the governor while delivering a speech at the Riverside Church in New York City's borough of Manhattan.

"Let me be clear, the black and brown communities that were first on the list of who died cannot be last on the list of who receives the vaccine," Cuomo added.

In his speech, the governor stressed the need to make special efforts with the vaccine to "reach the underserved black, brown and poor communities," such as enlisting communal and faith-based groups to distribute the vaccine in their communities to help cover the blind spots of the private market, and finding medical and outreach teams to help public housing projects and low-income communities benefit from the vaccination plan.

"The Reverend Dr. (Martin Luther) King who spoke in this magnificent church said of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health is the most shocking and the most inhumane because it often results in physical death. COVID proved Dr. King right," said Cuomo.

"New York state will mobilize an army to vaccinate all New Yorkers fairly, equitably. No state will do it better," he added.


On Friday, while speaking about the federal government's vaccination plan, U.S. President Donald Trump said that a COVID-19 vaccine would not be delivered to "New York until we have authorization to do so."

Cuomo "doesn't trust where the vaccine is coming from ... These are coming from the greatest companies anywhere in the world, greatest labs in the world, but he doesn't trust the fact that it's this White House, this administration," said Trump during a press conference from the White House Rose Garden.

The governor refuted the president's claim on Friday and Saturday, saying, "It's not that people don't trust the vaccine companies, the pharmaceutical companies ... An overwhelming percentage of Americans are worried about political interference in the vaccination process and the approval process by the president."

A number of states, New York included, set up a separate scientific panel that will review the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's approval to give people confidence in the vaccine approval process, he added.

Meanwhile, he was quoted as saying in an official press release that the "president says he created the vaccine -- that is not a fact. There is still something called reality and truth," targeting Trump's tweet which said that "the Trump Administration has produced a great and safe VACCINE far ahead of schedule."

"The federal government did not create the vaccine. Private drug companies, pharma companies are creating the vaccines. He has created problems for the vaccine because the vaccine is only relevant if people will take it, and we want people to take it," said the governor.


In the past weeks, Cuomo has repeatedly criticized the federal government's COVID-19 vaccination program, saying it relied too much on private entities and overlooked the minorities and the disadvantaged groups.

The National Governors Association, which Cuomo chairs, also sent letters to the federal government for clarification and improvement of its vaccination program.

As of Sunday afternoon, the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University reported 34,016 coronavirus deaths in New York state, the worst in the country.

Nationwide, an all-time high of nearly 200,000 new COVID-19 cases were reported on Thursday, setting a new record for the fifth time in a week, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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