Cuomo threatens to fine NY hospitals for not distributing vaccines quickly enough

Speaking at a news conference, Mr Cuomo the state’s hospitals will be slapped with the fines if they haven’t used their full allocations by the end of this week, and if will face further fines if they don’t distribute future vaccinations within seven days.

“I don’t want the vaccine in a fridge or a freezer, I want it in somebody’s arm,” he said. “If you’re not performing this function, it does raise questions about the operating efficiency of the hospital.”

New York governor Andrew Cuomo has threatened to fine hospitals up to $100,000 if they don’t speed up coronavirus vaccinations.

The Department of Health issued a letter to hospitals on Sunday threatening to withold future allocations of vaccines if they don’t comply with the order to expedite administration.

Mr Cuomo said New York State’s 194 hospitals have received about 46 per cent of their total vaccine allocation.

“I need those public officials to step in and manage those systems. You have the allocation; we want it in people’s arms as soon as possible,” he said.

According to the Centres for Disease Control’s latest figures, New York State has received an allocation of 895,925 vaccines and distribute the first does to 274,713 patients – or about 30 per cent.

In total, 15,418,500 doses have been distributed across the country with 4,563,260 patients receiving their first dose – or about 29 per cent – putting New York rate of vaccinations slightly faster than the national average.

At his press conference on Monday, Mr Cuomo singled out some of the slowest institutions at distributing the vaccine, with Samaritan Hospital at 15 per cent followed by AO Fox Hospital at 18 per cent and Nassau University Medical Center at 19 per cent.

He also called out New York City mayor Bill de Blasio, putting up his photo on a slide and including New York City Health + Hospitals with a vaccination rate of 31 per cent.

Mr de Blasio said on Monday that the city is expected to administer 400,000 doses by the end of January as 250 new vaccination sites open in the coming weeks.

Speaking at a news conference, he said the city had been working through logistical issues with the refrigeration needed for the vaccines.

“This is a whatever it takes situation. I want every hand on deck. That means city employees, medical reserves – anyone who can help us get this done,’ he  said.

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