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Cuomo Seeks More COVID-19 Vaccines Through Deal With Pfizer
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A banner from the state supporting COVID-19 vaccination efforts.
Credit: Gov. Cuomo's Office

COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout in New York

New York is seeking to purchase doses of the COVID-19 vaccine directly from pharmaceutical company Pfizer, saying the federal government isn’t delivering enough of the product to keep up with demand in the state.

In a letter to the company’s CEO, Gov. Andrew Cuomo asked the company to consider selling directly to New York, eliminating the federal government as an exclusive middle-man.

“You no doubt understand the challenges New York and other states face,” Cuomo wrote. “The federal administration essentially opened up a floodgate while cutting our supply — leading to confusion, frustration, and dashed hopes.”

As of last week, the state has estimated that more than 7 million people were eligible to immediately receive the COVID-19 vaccine in New York. But, due to supply issues, it’s expected to take several months to vaccinate those individuals.

The federal government, according to Cuomo, is sending New York 300,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine each week, with a decrease this week.

At the same time, guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control have expanded who’s eligible to receive the vaccine. As of now, people age 65 or older, health care workers, immunocompromised people, and other frontline workers are eligible.

Pfizer, Cuomo said, isn’t bound to sell exclusively to the federal government because it didn’t accept federal funding to develop the vaccine. That means it could sell directly to New York, or other states, if it has the doses on hand.

“The company's decision to opt out of Operation Warp Speed, which the Biden administration plans to overhaul, puts it in a unique situation that could help us save lives right here in New York,” Cuomo wrote.

When asked by a reporter Monday how many doses the state would be seeking, Cuomo said he would wait to hear back from Pfizer to come up with a number.

Read the full letter:

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