NEW ROCHELLE, NY — Unbelievable.
A day after taking Montefiore New Rochelle’s remaining allotment of COVID-19 vaccine because they were inoculating New Rochelle City and School District employees, Governor Andrew Cuomo gave a bizarre press conference — rushed through so he could watch the Buffalo Bills play the Indianapolis Colts in an NFL playoff game — where he reversed course by saying that police, firefighters and teachers can now receive the vaccine and that hospitals can inoculate Tier 1B people which includes public sector works and anyone age 75 and older.
None of this changes the disturbing fact that every elected official in New Rochelle, none of whom are Tier 1A and few of whom are Tier 1B, were offered the vaccine on Wednesday, most of whom stepped ahead of healthcare workers, police, firefighters and the elderly to be vaccinated on Thursday.
Cuomo began by saying he wanted to get off the call to watch the football game.
Good morning, still. Thanks for getting on the phone. I’m joined by Melissa DeRosa, Robert Mujica, Beth Garvey, Dr. Zucker, Gareth Rhodes, Peter Ajemian. I want to get through this call relatively quickly because 1 o’clock, we have to be ready for the Bills game, and I have to make sure I’m all situated, TV’s working, right snacks.
After going through the numbers and the UK strain of coronavirus, Cuomo proceeded to say the opposite of what he said at his press conference on Friday which was a flip-flop from what he had been saying all week.
On the vaccine, we are greatly expanding the distribution network. We’re adding thousands of new distribution sites, primarily by bringing in now pharmacies, doctors’ offices, et cetera. The Department of Health is talking to distributors over the weekend. 1a and 1b are open. Hospitals will continue to prioritize health care workers. It’s most important to get the health care workers vaccinated, especially with this UK strain out there. The UK strain is incredibly virulent and dangerous, so the hospitals will continue to prioritize healthcare staff, it’s what’s called the group 1a. The Department of Health is communicating with hospitals this weekend. It’s essential that they offer the vaccine and make it available to all hospital staff. We’re hoping for an acceptance rate close to 80 percent with a minimum of 70 percent. Hospitals can do 1b after prioritizing the 1a workers. County Health Departments we’re speaking with, we want them to focus on the allocations to the public employees in 1b.
I’ve asked the public employees where possible to organize a distribution network where police can do it, fire departments can do it, etcetera, and we’re asking the health departments to primarily attend to those public employees. If you have volunteer firefighters and they cannot administer, organize their own administration, let the Health Department help with those. If you have a school district that needs help, let the county health department help with those but focus on the public employees. That will allow the pharmacies to focus on the largest group which is the public, 75-plus – that’s 1.4 million people. 75-plus is by far the largest group in 1b. So that’s the allocation of responsibility if you will. Hospitals, continue to prioritize health care workers. Simple question for a hospital – have you made the vaccine available and accessible to all your employees, prioritize health care workers, hospitals, but they’re open to 1a, 1b. County health departments, focus on the public employees and the groups of public employees, 75-plus, pharmacies, doctor networks, reservations can become available on Monday. All this with a caveat of Matilda’s Rule.
At this rate of supply, 300,000 per week, the State receives 300,000 dosages per week, it will take 14 weeks to do 1a and 1b. It will take 14 weeks to do 1a and 1b. Just because the reservations become available, don’t expect everyone is going to get a reservation right away. By the rate of supply it will take 14 weeks. It will take 14 weeks for the public employees to get fully vaccinated. So if a police department starts vaccinating, prioritize your workforce assuming it’s going to take 14 weeks. Teachers who start to get vaccinated get allocations from the local health department. Assume it will take 14 weeks and the question to the public employees we’re not answering, if it take 14 weeks do you want to prioritize certain workers within your workforce? Query, teachers, do you want to prioritize teachers who are often in classrooms? Do you want to prioritize older teachers? Do you want to prioritize teachers in communities with higher infection rates? That’s what the public employee unions should be thinking about.
And I will stop there so I can get my potato chips ready.
As we were writing this the Bills defeated the Colts so the Governor is happy.
For public workers in New Rochelle not so much.