Alexander: Governor Cuomo Should Focus His Time and Resources on Planning to Distribute COVID-19 Vaccines in New York

Says it’s the responsibility of states to distribute COVID-19 vaccines regardless of who is president

MARYVILLE, Tennessee, November 9, 2020 — Senate health committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today said that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) “should focus his time and resources on planning to distribute COVID-19 vaccines in New York once they are approved by the career scientists at the Food and Drug Administration, regardless of who is president.” 


Alexander’s statement came after Gov. Cuomo said today that it is “bad news” that Pfizer announced preliminary 90% efficacy results in their COVID-19 vaccine trials before the next president assumes office. “The Trump Administration is rolling out the vaccination plan and I believe it’s flawed… They’re basically going to have the private providers do it and that’s going to leave out all sorts of communities that were left out the first time when COVID ravaged them,” Cuomo continued.


“Some people incorrectly believe ‘warp speed’ means cutting corners,” Alexander said. “But it actually refers to the extraordinary investment in research, development, and manufacturing scale-up for a COVID-19 vaccine and the unprecedented step to help speed manufacturing for hundreds of millions of doses of vaccines early in the process by buying these doses in advance so they can be ready to distribute as soon as the new vaccines are approved by the FDA.”


“The Trump Administration has provided guidance to states, who are ultimately responsible for developing and implementing their specific plans for vaccine distribution for their specific populations. The guidance includes specific information on how states can ensure COVID-19 vaccines reach at-risk communities. Many states, including my home state of Tennessee, have demonstrated that they are focusing on the needs of these communities in their planning. I urge Governor Cuomo to instead focus his time and resources on planning to distribute the vaccine in his state rather than undermining public confidence in COVID-19 vaccine distribution.”


Gov. Cuomo and some other governors have also recently announced they are setting up their own state COVID-19 vaccine review panels with Cuomo saying, “Frankly, I’m not going to trust the federal government’s opinion.” Chairman Alexander at the time urged these governors not to interfere with the decisions of FDA career scientists. “Undermining the FDA’s gold standard of safety and efficacy by setting up state vaccine review panels could delay approval, discourage Americans from taking the vaccine, and cost lives.”


For factual information on vaccine distribution, including a summary of New York’s plan, click here: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/covid19-vaccination-guidance.html