By Mark Hallum
While Governor Andrew Cuomo is considering how the state will deploy COVID-19 vaccines with historic deficits, Senator Charles Schumer is pressing the federal for $30 billion to fund those efforts.
Schumer believes New York alone will require “hundreds of millions” in funding will be needed to freely distribute the vaccine, educate the public, hire health workers and establish clinics as multiple vaccines are expected to be fast-tracked by the Federal Drug Administration.
“With a COVID-19 vaccine waiting in the wings, federal dollars need to follow if we are going to get this right and overcome this pandemic,” Schumer said in a Sunday statement. “States like New York will need funding to make sure the resources required once the vaccine is made available are both in place and in progress. New York will require hundreds-of-millions of dollars to hire health workers, establish clinics, including possible mobile ones, and make sure that we have boots on the ground engaging with people in communities, particularly those that often struggle with access to healthcare — and that is going to cost money.”
Cuomo, meanwhile, is more preoccupied by what the state expects to be a winter surge in cases which the administration anticipates will only calm after the holidays are are over, the governor did express some additional concern for distribution of the vaccine.
“After New Years Day, look a week or ten days afterward and hopefully the social activity slows at that point and the infection rate starts to level off. And then you get to a vaccine, which is the answer ultimately,” Cuomo said. “You have to have a discussion about how quickly you can distributed it and how quickly, and what’s the critical mass point of the vaccine. But that is months away by every professional estimate.”
Within the $2.2 trillion HEROES Act, which passed the House of Representatives in May before being blocked in the U.S. Senate by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, is the funding for cities and states to organize vaccination efforts.
According to Schumer, he and President-elect Joe Biden have been in discussions to plan new bills through a lame duck session to provide another stimulus to Americans, something unseen since the CARES Act in March, that would include grants for localities to vaccinate the populace.