New York Governor Andrew Cuomo called for county officials to include drivers and restaurant workers in the vaccine eligibility list.
It is stated that if the counties carry it out into effect it would expand the eligibility criteria even though the city is facing a vaccine shortage.
New York Governor Expands Vaccines To Restaurant Workers And Drivers
Before this modified law, an estimated 7 million people which included workers from various sectors and individuals aged above 65 were included in this eligibility list.
There are around 2,00,000 licensed cabs and drivers in New York City and 8,65,800 restaurant services in the state alone.
Cuomo had previously talked about how various states were setting age criteria for vaccines. He said that such measures neglect the high-risk individuals which include seniors and the disabled.
He also expressed his desire to provide vaccines to all workers regardless of age or any other criteria.
Days before, the Democratic officials had severely criticized various elected representatives for expanding vaccine distribution right during shortage issues.
But Cuomo also mentioned the Biden administration’s plan to increase vaccine supply by 20% to New York for the next three weeks. This results in more vaccine doses for each county.
Cuomo also said that if county officials are willing to take the action, they can proceed if it meets their distribution plan.
His team has not yet released the vaccine numbers to be supplied to the counties.
Health experts say that the increased dosage would be insufficient as the state is already receiving 2,50,000 shots each week which itself is a short supply.
Executive Director of the New York State Association of Counties, Stephen Acquario stated that he was quite surprised with the governor’s decision. He added that the action will be taken into effect once further instructions are provided by Cuomo.
Many people in New York as well as county leaders have complained about their inability to get vaccinated due to the insufficient supply by the State Government.
Erie County Department of Health Spokeswoman Kara Kane announced that the county will be using the doses provided in the incoming weeks for individuals who had to cancel their appointments due to shortage problems.
The City Mayor Bill de Blasio supported Cuomo’s decision by stating that more vaccines will be distributed to every part of New York regardless of age or eligibility in order to support the Vaccine for All Campaign.
The flexible supply would also enable immigrant workers and minority groups to get vaccinated.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the black and Hispanic communities are more prone to the coronavirus.
Yet, it is unclear as to whether the vaccine flexibility would help the black new yorkers to get vaccinated as they represent one-fourth of the city and 13% of restaurant workers.
The state’s Hospitality Alliance Executive Director, Andrew Rigie also expressed his joy over Cuomo’s decision and said that restaurant workers have been one of the bravest people along with health workers during this pandemic.
Executive Director of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, Bhairavi Desai added that cab drivers have dealt with massive unemployment issues and it is necessary that they get vaccinated faster to be immune and get back to safe working conditions.