Gov. Cuomo seeks to buy COVID-19 vaccines for New Yorkers directly from Pfizer

This would be a first-of-its-kind transaction.

News 12 Staff

Jan 19, 2021, 3:18 AM

Updated 1,253 days ago

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo is looking to buy COVID-19 vaccines for New Yorkers directly from Rockland-based Pfizer - instead of waiting for doses from the federal government.
This would be a first-of-its-kind transaction.
However, Pfizer would need approval from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to sell doses to New York.
The governor sent a letter to the CEO of Pfizer saying, "Because you are not bound by commitments that Moderna made as part of Operation Warp Speed, I am requesting that the State of New York be permitted to directly purchase doses from you. The distribution of any doses obtained directly from Pfizer will follow the rigorous guidance the State has established."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expanded eligibility for the vaccine to more than 7 million New Yorkers, and it was understood that states all around the country would get an increased supply to parallel demand.
The federal government said it had a stockpile of vaccine that would be sent to the states, but Cuomo said it isn't true. Officials across the country are now demanding an explanation from Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.
Officials all around the country have to reconfigure plans they already drew up and hit the brakes for future plans, and many people have received their first doses and need their second.
"They must increase the supply, approve Johnson & Johnson. Expedite that. Buy more Pfizer, buy more Moderna, buy more Oxford AstraZeneca. Do whatever you have to do to increase the supply," says Gov. Cuomo.
With a new administration coming in just two days, it's likely some of that will happen and that quantities would increase.
Until then, it's unknown whether the current leadership within the Department Health and Human Services will allow New York to purchase directly from Pfizer.
Gov. Cuomo said he wants to see what Pfizer says first and then he will address further details, such as how many doses they would buy.
News 12 asked the governor's team how they would pay for the vaccine with a $15 billion deficit but hasn’t heard back yet.


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