Governor, lawmakers urge for equitable vaccine distribution

NY Capitol News

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — As the Cuomo Administration encourages New Yorkers to get the COVID-19 vaccine when it’s their turn, there’s an effort to make sure that communities of color are not left behind. 

“COVID created low tide. It exposed fundamental issues that were lurking beneath the service,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said.

The Governor said, among those issues are “structural racism and discrimination,” noting Black and Hispanic Americans have died from COVID-19 at higher rates than white people. On Wednesday, he announced a new partnership with the federal government to open mass vaccination sites to target communities of color. The first two will be located in Brooklyn and Queens and are expected to open February 24. They’ll be able to do about 3,000 vaccinations daily. Those shots will be an additional allocation to what the state currently receives. 

The Governor said sites in Upstate New York are also in the works. 

“We want to identify with specificity the NYCHA community rooms, the churches, the mosques, the synagogues and other places our people go so they don’t have to get in a car or find a Walgreens that’s not in our community,” Reverend Al Sharpton said during Wednesday’s press briefing.

Meanwhile, there’s legislation sponsored by New York State Senator Tim Kennedy to require the state to provide public updates to the “Draft New York State COVID-19 Vaccination Administration Program.”

“The bill calls for the Department of Health to put forward a written plan on their website by March 1 that will ensure transparency and equitable distribution of the plan and ultimately a rollout where people are informed and on how this distribution is happening across New York State,” Kennedy said.

The proposal, which has bipartisan support, has passed through the Senate Health Committee. 

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