New York will be reallocating unused COVID-19 vaccines after more than ten thousand nursing home residents and nearly half of staffers declined the jab, according to Gareth Rhodes, a member of Governor Andrew Cuomo's COVID-19 Response Task Force.
Rhodes said that out of 70,000 nursing home residents, 57,000 have been vaccinated, while 13,000 have declined. Meanwhile, out of 89,000 nursing home staff, 41,000 have declined.
Overall, 105,000 first-doses of the vaccine have been used so far in nursing homes, while 120,000 doses remain.
"We’re gonna reallocate those that are used in the long-term facility program to the state program, but we’ll make sure that the residents who want to take it and the staff who want to take it, we will reserve their doses," said Cuomo, who in July came under fire for ordering nursing homes to accept coronavirus patients from hospitals.
The reallocation comes more than a week after New York came under scrutiny over discarded vaccines - with officials changing regulations which required that extra doses to be tossed.
In a Monday letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, Cuomo called on the federal government to beef up vaccine supply, claiming that Azar falsely claimed that doses would be held in reserve, when they were in fact distributed to states.
I'm demanding @HHSGov Secretary Alex Azar explain his false claim that reserve vaccine doses would be shipped to states—when in fact the fed gov had ALREADY distributed all of those doses and will not be increasing the supply. pic.twitter.com/71uIx2FOq6— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) January 18, 2021
New York has received approximately 1.2 million doses, of which around 860,000 have been administered. The figure doesn't include shots allocated to nursing homes, while the CDC claims New York has received 1.8 million doses.
Cuomo last week extended the shots to anyone age 65 and over, but has repeatedly insisted the state has nowhere near enough doses to cover everyone who is now eligible.
The governor also sent a letter Monday to Pfizer chairman and CEO Albert Bourla asking him to let New York purchase COVID-19 vaccines directly from the company. -NY Post
"My job as governor of New York is to pursue every avenue," said Cuomo, adding "The federal government increased eligibility dramatically but never increased the supply for the dosages."