‘This is a public health matter’: Cuomo says feds must make it so potential COVID-19 vaccine is available to all

Photo via Flickr/Governor Andrew Cuomo

At his daily coronavirus briefing, Governor Andrew Cuomo stated that if a vaccine for COVID-19 is developed, the federal government should establish rules to ensure that the vaccine is available to everyone.

On May 18, total hospitalizations and intubations continued to decline. The number of new COVID-19 hospitalizations also decreased to 335. Cuomo stated 105 New Yorkers lost their lives as a result of coronavirus, a number that he says is still too high despite the progress New York has made.

“We are basically back to where we started before this tragedy descended upon us,” said Cuomo.

During the briefing, Cuomo spoke about recent news that a company is close to developing a vaccine for COVID-19 and that the federal government is working with them to accelerate the production of the vaccine. However, he noted that the federal government and FDA should release the rights to any vaccine that is developed for widespread distribution.

“Whatever company finds [the vaccine], the vaccine must then be made available to all people,” said Cuomo. “And it can’t be a situation where only the rich, only the privileged can get the vaccine, because one company owns the rights and they can’t produce enough for everyone.”

Cuomo continued by saying that as the federal government is “bending over backwards” to get the vaccine developed, they should set up guidelines now that any company that develops a vaccine has to make the patent or formula available the next day so more companies can help supply vaccines globally.

“This is a public health matter, this is a national security threat,” said Cuomo. “This should not be about one corporation’s privacy.”