New York State may receive a newly developed vaccine for COVID-19 later than other states because of opposition to the drug from the state’s governor Andrew Cuomo, President Donald Trump said Saturday (Nov. 14).
“As everyone knows, the Trump Administration has produced a great and safe VACCINE far ahead of schedule,” the president tweeted, referring to the vaccine created by Pfizer-BioNTech.
“The problem is, [Cuomo] said that he will delay using it, and other states WANT IT NOW.”
Trump has said that the vaccine would be distributed for free in supermarkets across the country. On Nov. 13, speaking at a press conference held for Operation Warp Speed, the administration’s initiative to create a vaccine for COVID-19, he mentioned that Cuomo would “have to let us know when he’s ready for it because otherwise, we can’t be delivering it to a state that won’t be giving it to its people immediately.”
Cuomo has repeatedly questioned the efficacy of the new vaccine that the Trump administration has pushed to develop. He claimed on CNN on Friday that while Americans trust the companies developing the vaccines, they are concerned that the process for approving the vaccine has been politicized by the Trump administration. He had said, “We’re in a situation where half the country is saying ‘I don’t know if I should trust this vaccine.'”
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Replying to his tweet on Nov. 14, Trump added: “We cannot waste time and can only give to those states that will use the vaccine immediately. Therefore the New York delay. Many lives to be saved, but we are ready when they are. Stop playing politics!”
Cuomo told ABC last week that he was in discussion with other governors about modifying or halting the president’s plan to distribute vaccines. In September, he had established an independent committee to review the effectiveness and safety of the new vaccine. Similar steps have been taken in California, Washington, Oregon, and Nevada.
On Nov. 9, Pfizer announced that data from a late-stage study showed that the company’s vaccine was 90 percent effective in preventing COVID-19.
In July, the U.S. government reached an agreement with Pfizer-BioNTech in which the former would pay $1.95 billion for the first 100 million doses of the BNT162 vaccine introduced by the two companies. The deal must still be approved, or given emergency authorization, by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).