Cuomo looks to reassure black New Yorkers on safety of COVID-19 vaccine

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo was the Flushing MTA Maintenance Yard where he vowed to make sure all trains were clean and sanitized. (Photo by Todd Maisel)

Governor Andrew Cuomo hopes to earn the trust of Black New Yorkers in deploying the COVID-19 vaccine program to the neighborhoods hardest hit in the pandemic.

After the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment of 1932, when 600 Black men were exploited in a medical study of syphilis, Cuomo understood the hesitancy African Americans— who suffered with fewer healthcare resources during height of the pandemic in the spring— if they held distrust regarding coronavirus vaccinations.

Cuomo claimed he would take the vaccine, but not prior to it being made widely available to everyday New Yorkers in namely the south Bronx, south Jamaica, east Buffalo and other “healthcare deserts.”

“COVID showed that racism is a public health crisis also. COVID killed black people in this country at two times the rate of white people and Hispanic people at one and a half times the rate of white people,” Cuomo said. “I’m committed to social and racial justice in the distribution of this vaccine. It will be available as quickly and fairly as we can make it happen. Race or income will not determine who lives and who dies.”

These remarks follow a Saturday release of numbers showing that 30,337 New Yorkers have died of COVID-19 and 1,321 are currently in intensive care units across the state. Up to 7,814 are currently in hospitals and 128 people had died as of the time of the report.

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