New York Official: Police Must Wait to Get COVID-19 Vaccine
State officials say police and other first responders will have to wait their turn because the state will not prioritize "one group over any other."
Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro is asking Gov. Andrew Cuomo to allow police, corrections officers, firefighters, ambulance personal and other first responders not currently covered by the state's COVID-19 vaccination plan to be added to the list.
“Making the vaccine immediately available to this larger, yet still, essential population, will allow for a faster and more efficient vaccination campaign," Molinaro said in a letter to Cuomo, sent to Hudson Valley Post. "I believed we must do everything in our power to protect them and those they serve. Leaving these groups to wait is a serious miscalculation and would be detrimental to the public's health and wellbeing."
New York State Communications Director Peter Ajemian released the following statement after speaking with local governments regarding the ongoing COVID vaccination efforts.
"The state plan will not allow 1B to commence only with police; it also includes teachers, firefighters and other essential workers as well as 75+ year old New Yorkers - all eligible at the same time. We do not, and will not allow, prioritization of one group over any other in 1B," Ajemian said. "The rules of the COVID vaccine distribution have been clear for many weeks and agreed to by virtually all credible federal and state leaders. The first priority is "1A," healthcare workers who are on the front lines. With the increasing hospitalization rates, the new UK strain spread and hospital staff shortages, keeping hospitals functioning is essential to avoid another shutdown. "Once those healthcare workers who want to accept a vaccine are afforded the opportunity, vaccinations go to the "1B" category which includes essential workers including police, firefighters and 75+ year old New Yorkers (who have the highest death rate from COVID). Police are not "healthcare workers" for 1A purposes except those who are EMS or EMT. As everyone knows, virtually every police officer is trained in CPR, but that does not make them a 'healthcare worker' for the purpose of vaccine distribution."
Gov. Cuomo stated he won't start Phase 1B until all healthcare workers and nursing home residents are given a chance to get the shot. Cuomo is also calling on large organized groups like police, transit workers and other unions to organize their own vaccine distribution plan so they are ready when Phase 1B begins.