New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Monday that hospitals that have been able to quickly administer their allocated vaccine doses — which he termed high-performing hospitals in a briefing on the state’s response to thepandemic — will get more doses, while those that have been slow to use up their allotment won’t be allocated more.
Cuomo said 8,771 New Yorkers were hospitalized with the virus as of Monday, with more than 1,500 of those in intensive care. More than 170 people died from coronavirus-related complications in the state Sunday.
The announcement comes as the nationwide vaccine rollout is hitting speed bumps and the country sees new variants spread. Cuomo had said Saturday the state will not receive enough vaccine doses for the more than 7 million New Yorkers who are now eligible for the shot and called on Washington to increase its distribution efforts. The federal government is expected to send 250,000 doses this week.
“For the lower performing facilities, we are going to give them less, if any, of the new allocation. They’ll all have enough to do their staff, but we want to make sure that the faster facilities — the higher-performing facilities — get more of the new allocation because we want it out the door,” Cuomo said, after detailing the relative performance rates of hospitals in different regions. “We don’t want it sitting on the shelf. So those that can vaccinate faster will get more of the new allocation.”
Local governments across the state, including New York City, “overwhelmingly” agree with the plan, said Melissa DeRosa, secretary to the governor.
“If you have allocation remaining, you don’t need the allocation that’s going out, ” said DeRosa. “The other hospitals that are faster can get more out the door.”
The state will also open pop-up vaccination clinics in areas Cuomo called “healthcare deserts,” and will open eight more mass vaccination sites this week, bringing the state’s total to 13.
Cuomo said the state had also directly contacted Pfizer, the manufacturer of one of two coronavirus vaccines authorized for emergency use by the federal government, to buy more doses. The vaccine distribution effort has been coordinated by the federal government, which allocates doses to states rather than states contracting directly with the manufacturers.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azarthe federal government would change its allocation formula “based on the pace of administration as reported by states, and by the size of the 65 and older population in each state.” President-elect Joe Biden has said his administration’s goal is to vaccinate 100 million Americans within his first 100 days in office.
The vaccine efforts come as the country is hurtling toward a grim milestone. Data compiled by Johns Hopkins University showed 397,808 reported deaths in the U.S. from COVID-19 as of Monday afternoon. With nearly 4,000 deaths being reported per day, the country is soon expected to cross the 400,000 mark.
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, President-elect Joe Biden’s nominee to lead the Centers for Disease Control, told CBS News she expects the country to hit a half-million deaths by mid-February.