Governor Cuomo outlines challenges with vaccine distribution

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — As the wait for a widely distributed COVID-19 vaccine continues, Governor Andrew Cuomo said there will be several challenges to ensure the distribution rolls out smoothly.

He said there are three main challenges when it comes to vaccine distribution. 

“Distributing the vaccine is going to be the greatest governmental overtaking since COVID began,” he said.

The Governor said distribution will be expensive and that states need more funding to do so. He said the country has done about 120 million COVID-19 tests over the course of nine months but will need to do 330 million vaccinations. Additionally, he said there will be challenges to administering the vaccine to Black, Brown and poor communities.

“They’re underserved by healthcare facilities. And their rate of skepticism is higher. It’s going to be an expensive effort to outreach to Black, Brown and poor communities,” he said.

“One thing that this state has done really well is they have gotten together all of the people that would be involved in this, so it’s not just physicians; it’s physicians, it’s hospitals, it’s pharmacists, it’s nursing homes, it’s all of our community leaders, because again, this vaccine has to get distributed very widely,” said Medical Society of the State of New York President Bonnie Litvack.

The Governor said the third issue is a data share agreement from the federal government about who was vaccinated.

“The data share agreement from the federal government specifically says the states should identify recipients using such identifiers as social security number, driver’s license ID or passport number. These are proxies for citizenship,” he said. 

Meanwhile, White House Spokesman Michael Bars said, “… such information would only be used to support the unprecedented private-public partnership continuing to harness the full power of the federal government, private sector, military, and scientific community to combat the coronavirus and save lives. A data agreement would request only minimal information and under no circumstances request, require, or otherwise gather or maintain social security numbers, passport numbers, or driver’s license numbers.”

survey from the Medical Society of the State of New York showed that 80 percent of physicians in the state plan to get a vaccine once it’s widely available, and that “nearly 70% of physicians estimated that at least half of their patients will receive the COVID-19 vaccine once it is widely available.”

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