UPDATED 12:52 PM PT – Tuesday, January 12, 2021
Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) is changing course after facing mounting criticism over his handling of vaccine rollout in the state.
During a press briefing on Monday, Cuomo announced the launch of a Public Health Corps, which is expected to bring in thousands to help administer vaccines in the empire state.
“I’m signing an executive order that is going to make additional staff eligible to do vaccinations,” Cuomo stated. “This new network will have more people who they can hire. In addition to the thousands of distributors we’re bringing online, DOH is going to set up mass distribution sites over the next several weeks.”
665,172 doses have been administered as of 3:00pm today – an increase of 60K in the last 24 hours.
-570,556 in hospitals
-94,616 in Long Term Care facilities
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) January 12, 2021
After Cuomo expanded vaccine eligibility to essential workers and those over the age of 75, nearly 500 pharmacies across the state started accepting appointments for New Yorkers on Monday.
The governor received backlash last week, most notably from New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, for restricting the vaccine to healthcare workers only. Cuomo’s attempts to prioritize medical personnel led to vaccines sitting in freezers unused as nearly 30 percent of healthcare workers in the state opted out of the vaccine.
The #COVID19 vaccine MUST get to some of our most vulnerable New Yorkers — especially our senior citizens.
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) January 12, 2021
During the press briefing, Cuomo said it could take months to vaccinate groups 1a and 1b.
“Fourteen weeks, that’s April 16 before we get through 1a and 1b, which is just the healthcare workers, the public employees, high risk and 75 plus,” Cuomo said.
While the federal government has distributed 13 million vaccines across the country, on Saturday the CDC said that only 4 million of those have been administered.