ADVERTISEMENT

Mayor, governor differ on New York vaccination strategies

January 5, 2021 GMT
Dr. Scott Asnis, a dentist, receives a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination distribution center set up by Northwell Health and Nassau County at Nassau County Community College, Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021, in Garden City, N.Y. It is the county's first vaccination distribution center. On Tuesday, eligble health care and frontline workers were able to get the vaccine at the site. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Dr. Scott Asnis, a dentist, receives a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination distribution center set up by Northwell Health and Nassau County at Nassau County Community College, Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021, in Garden City, N.Y. It is the county's first vaccination distribution center. On Tuesday, eligble health care and frontline workers were able to get the vaccine at the site. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Dr. Scott Asnis, a dentist, receives a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination distribution center set up by Northwell Health and Nassau County at Nassau County Community College, Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021, in Garden City, N.Y. It is the county's first vaccination distribution center. On Tuesday, eligble health care and frontline workers were able to get the vaccine at the site. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
1 of 9
Dr. Scott Asnis, a dentist, receives a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination distribution center set up by Northwell Health and Nassau County at Nassau County Community College, Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021, in Garden City, N.Y. It is the county's first vaccination distribution center. On Tuesday, eligble health care and frontline workers were able to get the vaccine at the site. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
1 of 9
Dr. Scott Asnis, a dentist, receives a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination distribution center set up by Northwell Health and Nassau County at Nassau County Community College, Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021, in Garden City, N.Y. It is the county's first vaccination distribution center. On Tuesday, eligble health care and frontline workers were able to get the vaccine at the site. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

NEW YORK (AP) — Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo offered competing strategies Tuesday for ramping up New York’s COVID-19 vaccination efforts, with de Blasio saying vaccine eligibility should be widened and Cuomo countering that hospitals need to do a better job of vaccinating the health care workers who are eligible now.

“Move it quickly. We’re serious,” said Cuomo, who on Monday threatened to fine hospitals that don’t administer their vaccine allotments quickly enough. “If you don’t want to be fined, just don’t participate in the program. It’s not a mandatory program.”

Only health care workers and nursing home residents and staff members are currently being vaccinated in New York. De Blasio said it’s time to broaden eligibility to include people older than 75 and essential workers such as police officers and firefighters.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Let us have the ability to do our jobs the right way. Give them the freedom to vaccinate and they will vaccinate thousands, then tens of thousands, then hundreds of thousands, then millions,” de Blasio said. “What they don’t need is to be shamed; what they don’t need is more bureaucracy; what they don’t need is a threat of fines.”

But Cuomo said vaccinations are lagging because some hospitals are just better managed than others. “If you’re doing your job, then what are you worried about?” Cuomo said.

Only about 100,000 people received vaccines in New York City during the first three weeks after the first vaccine was approved for emergency use, but de Blasio has pledged that the city will administer 400,000 vaccines a week by the end of this month.