News of a Pfizer breakthrough on a vaccine to fight the coronavirus came as welcome news to many today but New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo still expressed concern about it being rolled out under the Trump administration.
Cuomo blasted Trump’s vaccine plan Monday morning as “flawed” and went so far as to declare: “We can’t let this vaccination plan go forward the way that Trump and his administration is designing it.”
The Democratic governor — who has a bitter relationship with Trump — made the comments on “Good Morning America” Monday, moments after he acknowledged that tests on Pfizer’s experimental COVID-19 vaccine “look good” and he believes a vaccine will be “available shortly.”
Calling the promising breakthrough “bad news,” Cuomo said the vaccine rollout plan needed to be stopped until his old friend, President-elect Joe Biden takes office in January, otherwise it will cause “damage.”
“The bad news is that it’s about two months before Joe Biden takes over, and this means [the Trump] administration is going to be implementing a vaccine plan,” Cuomo said.
That plan, he said, is “flawed.”
“I believe it learns nothing from the past,” Cuomo charged. “They’re basically going to have the private providers do it, and that’s going to leave out all sorts of communities that were left out the first time when COVID ravaged them.
The governor threatened to slow-roll the desperately-needed vaccine in the hard-hit Empire State in September, citing his distrust of the president and claiming the process was “politicized.”
Trump unloaded on Cuomo, calling him a “lowlife,” and said the vaccine had been developed by the “finest labs in the world.”
The braggadocios Big Apple-born lawmakers share a mutual loathing and repeatedly traded blows at their daily press conferences during the pandemic, with Cuomo even suggesting the president would need “an army” to protect him if he wanted to walk on the streets of New York.
While Pfizer has signed on to Operation Ward Speed, the Trump administration’s plan to fast track delivery of a COVID-19 vaccine, the company did not take any money from the federal money to help pay for research and development.
Warp Speed has promised to purchase $2 billion worth of vaccines from Pfizer when they are ready.
Cuomo said the Trump administration’s vaccine will be distributed through the “private mechanism” — including hospitals and drug market chains, excluding poorer communities.
Communities in “healthcare deserts” — without any of those facilities nearby — will be in trouble, as was the case when the virus began to sweep the nation, Cuomo said.
“You have two months, and you can’t let this vaccination go forward the way the Trump administration is designing it — because Biden can’t undo it two months later,” he said.
“We’ll be in the midst of it. And I’ve been talking to governors across the nation about that. How can we shape the Trump administration vaccine plan to fix it or stop it before it does damage.”
He said that the Biden administration would “depoliticize testing data” and “listen to the science, [which] is the exact opposite of Trump.”
Cuomo has previously said that he wants his own team of in-house experts to review a federally approved COVID-19 vaccine before distributing the drug to millions of New Yorkers, arguing that he doesn’t think the FDA and CDC’s recommendations are “safe.”
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