Updated: January 08, 2021 06:27 PM
Created: January 08, 2021 04:08 PM
ALBANY, N.Y. (WHEC/AP) — Faced with mounting criticism over the slow pace of the coronavirus vaccine rollout, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Friday that, starting next week, New York would allow a much wider swath of the public to get inoculated, including anyone age 75 or older.
The governor warned that, initially, the supply of vaccines available to people other than health care workers and nursing home patients would be very limited.
Cuomo said a beefed-up statewide distribution network will include pharmacies, doctors' networks, and county health departments. The next group to receive the vaccine is group 1B, which includes 3.2 million eligible New Yorkers. They are education workers, first responders, public safety workers, public transit workers, and people 75 years and older.
“Caution, caution, caution, because the supply is a major problem," Cuomo said at his regular briefing. "You’ll wind up having 3,000 distribution points in a couple of weeks, but none of them will have nearly enough vaccine.”
The announcement came as many local officials argued it was time to distribute the vaccine beyond health care workers. Mayor Bill de Blasio criticized the state government Friday for keeping New York City from immediately vaccinating people older than 75 against the coronavirus, saying the city had 270,000 doses that could be quickly administered.
“The state of New York will not allow us to vaccinate them. This is really dangerous if we can’t vaccinate the people who are most in danger. We’re going to lose lives we did not need to lose. Let’s change that now," de Blasio said at his regular briefing.
Cuomo had been insisting on focusing on the state's front-line health care workers as cases and hospitalizations surge this winter.
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