De Blasio heaps on Cuomo about vaccination distribution sites, wants “local control” back

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Jacob Javits Convention Center Vaccination Site during the snowstorm.
Photo by Dean Moses

In addition to all the controversy and fine tooth combing through of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s record, Mayor Bill de Blasio criticized Cuomo’s methods of vaccine distribution on Wednesday.

The mayor said when it comes to New York City, locally-led vaccination efforts were more accessible to people — but that’s not what the state wanted.

“We still need a lot more local control, we still need a lot more flexibility, we still need the freedom to vaccinate,” said de Blasio in his March 3 briefing.

Daily indicators , said de Blasio, show a confirmed positivity rate for COVID of about 6.3% and hospitalization rates at about 4%, but the city has now officially surpassed 2 million first round vaccine doses, said de Blasio.

“What’s happening is clear people want the vaccine more and more, and we are more and more able to get it to them,” said de Blasio.

The mayor said that he continues to push for increased vaccine efforts, but the key is more supply and more accessibility to local communities. That seems contradictory to the state’s plans that focused on large distribution sites and not giving the city its “fair share” of vaccine supply.

“The state and the governor continually preferred these mega-sites over community-based sites, and I’ve said clearly that is exacerbating the disparity problem,” said de Blasio. “So much of what’s happening in these places is not benefitting New York City residents, let alone people in the 33 communities hardest hit by COVID, that are immigrant and people of color communities.”

De Blasio said he’s fine with the larger sites, but those alone don’t get at the grassroots issues.

De Blasio said the goal is full local control when it comes to many things, but specifically the approach to vaccine distribution.

The mayor also approved of efforts to strip Cuomo of his emergency powers.

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