Slow acceptance of the COVID-19 vaccine by healthcare workers is a growing concern for Governor Andrew Cuomo who on Monday claimed hospitals with the lowest number of immune staff will suffer the most from staffing issues.
Cuomo reported that 60% of hospital staff statewide have received the vaccine which brought the topic of his briefing back to the matter of facilities using as much of their state allocated supply as fast as possible, warning once again that the privilege of distributing could be taken away.
Cuomo announced in recent weeks that the medical facilities holding onto vaccine doses could be fined up to $100,000.
“My concern, our concern, the department of health’s concern, more important: the low vaccinated hospital staff will be the first hospitals to have capacity problems in a certain situation for two reasons. Number one, they’ll have more staff getting sick, because you have fewer that were vaccinated. Number two, I do believe there’s a management component in performance component to what we’re seeing,” Cuomo said.
Cuomo had an axe to grind with the federal government and said he would be issuing a letter to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar regarding his allegedly false claim that doses in “physical reserve” would be distributed to states in order to meet the demand for boosters and increased eligibility.
It turns out, there was no reserve of doses, Cuomo said.
“So there was no increase [in availability], but there was this tremendous increase in eligibility. So now you have 7 million New Yorkers chasing 300,000 vaccines a week, at that rate it would take six months. The 300 goes down to 250 now, you took about seven months to get the 7 million vaccinations done,” Cuomo said. “Why did you raise that expectation? You tell me I’m going to be eligible for a vaccine, great. I’m all excited, by the way, it’s gonna take seven months to get to you. Seven months is a lifetime.”
New strains of COVID from Brazil and South Africa also has Governor Cuomo on edge as new cases of the variant originating from the United Kingdom, and the genetic sequencing required to identify these mutations is lengthy.
Cuomo was adamant that the federal government needs to attempt to hinder travel from these countries into the United States to prevent the spread of these new variations, especially considering the one coming from Brazil may be 70% more infectious than the virus New Yorkers are all too familiar with.
The UK strain is also about 70% more infectious and has been identified first in Saratoga Springs.