NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday confirmed that New York State will be receiving a 16% increase in COVID-19 vaccines beginning next week.
The governor confirmed the development during an interview on MSNBC after participating in a conference call with the Biden administration.
Cuomo called the increase “good news” and said New York can count on that new allocation for the next three weeks. But, he noted that the new number is still “not enough.”
New York currently receives 250,000 vaccines from the federal government every week. A 16% increase would mean the state would receive just under 300,000 per week.
Cuomo says the Trump administration did a poor job in managing vaccine production and the Biden administration has inherited a slew of issues.
“They don't have the factory under federal control and that's the problem," Cuomo said. "They have inherited, I believed, a flawed production schedule they are going to have to work with."
Shortly after Cuomo’s interview, President Joe Biden addressed the nation saying his administration will be boosting purchases of COVID-19 vaccines to deliver enough to protect 300 million Americans by the end of the summer.
The federal government will continue to purchase from drugmakers Pfizer and Moderna, but there could be more vaccines available for purchase soon if federal scientists approve a single-dose vaccine from Johnson & Johnson.
Gov. Cuomo says in New York, the vaccination effort will still take some time unless the federal government dramatically increases vaccine supply in the upcoming weeks.
"At this rate, we're talking about months and months, obviously," Cuomo said.
The governor had already announced that the state was on a “week-to-week” basis in scheduling and distributing vaccines.
While Mayor Bill de Blasio and other lawmakers have urged Gov. Cuomo to use second dose reserves as first doses, the governor says the federal government will not allow such action to be taken.
“The federal government does not allow that because the fear is –until you really know what the production schedule is – if you start using the second dose as the first dose, you have to know your supply or else you’re going to start leaving people without a second dose when their appointment is due 21 days later,” Cuomo said.
The federal government is currently distributing vaccines to states based on population density, but Cuomo believes states that have the capacity to do vaccinations more quickly should be prioritized.
“If the goal is to get needles in the arms, then you need to use the distributors who can do it faster,” Cuomo said.
However, there has been no word from the federal government if that is an option that is being considered.
Instead, Biden's team has pledged to provide states with firm vaccine allocations three weeks ahead of delivery to allow for accurate planning for injections.
“Until now, we’ve had to guess 'how much vaccine' each week," Biden said. “This is unacceptable. Lives are at stake.”
(© 2021 WCBS 880. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)