New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo Prioritizes Addicts as Next to Receive Coronavirus Vaccine

Kevin P. Coughlin/ Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo via AP
Kevin P. Coughlin/ Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo via AP

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has prioritized addicts as one of the next groups in line to receive the limited supply of vaccines for the Chinese coronavirus, sparking backlash from Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), who ripped the Democrat leader for “prioritizing vaccines for drug addicts over tens of thousands of seniors who have been home bound since the start of the pandemic.”

Cuomo this week announced New York would receive about 259,000 additional vaccines from both Pfizer and Moderna while detailing the rollout and distribution, prioritizing urgent care center employees, local health department staff, and residents of the Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS), or addiction treatment facilities. Cuomo attributed the decision to the fact that such places are “congregate facilities.”

“Congregate facilities are problematic. That’s where you have a lot of people in concentration,” Cuomo said during Monday’s press conference, though he noted nursing homes are “obviously the most problematic because they’re congregate plus older, vulnerable people.”

“OASAS facilities, what we call the O facilities, they’re congregate — not necessarily older — but congregate facilities,” he continued.

His admission, that residents of addiction treatment facilities are taking priority in the distribution of the vaccine, drew ire from Stefanik, who referred to him as the “worst governor in America”:

As of Monday, 140,000 New Yorkers had received the first dose of the vaccine, according to the governor. During that same presser, Cuomo emphasized that a “post-COVID [coronavirus] future” depends largely on “getting those vaccines now in people’s arms.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci predicted last week that the U.S. will reach “very close to a degree of normality” in fall 2021, though his prediction is largely contingent on the “overwhelming majority” of the population getting vaccinated.

Over 2.1 million people received the first dose of a vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Monday update.


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