New York Will Review COVID-19 Vaccines, Gov. Cuomo Says

WebMD News Staff

September 28, 2020

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Governor Andrew Cuomo speaking on September 9 at his 3rd Ave office in New York City.

A New York committee will review coronavirus vaccines approved by the federal government, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Thursday during a news briefing.

He cited concerns about political inference in the vaccine development process and showed a slide that said, "Unfortunately, we can no longer trust the federal government."

"Frankly, I'm not going to trust the federal government's opinion, and I wouldn't recommend to New Yorkers based on the federal government's opinion," he said.

Cuomo said he was alarmed by President Donald Trump's remarks on Wednesday about potentially rejecting new FDA guidelines that could place stricter requirements on vaccine approval.

Although state officials aren't involved with the official approval process for vaccines, they will determine how vaccines are distributed throughout their state. Officials could delay distribution if they believe the vaccine isn't safe, according to The New York Times .

In New York, Cuomo said he's creating a panel of scientists, public health experts, and doctors -- headed by the state's health department -- to review the safety and efficacy data of an approved vaccine. He didn't give specifics about the panel or the process on Thursday.

In addition, Cuomo said he's appointing a second committee to decide on vaccine distribution, including who should be prioritized and how to train those who will administer the shots. The group will also develop a technology infrastructure for scheduling appointments and tracking program metrics, according to ABC 7 in New York. The logistical aspects of doling out doses, especially if people need a two-dose vaccine, will take extensive coordination.

"It's going to be a monumental undertaking," Cuomo said.

In the meantime, Cuomo encouraged people to get a flu vaccine to prevent a "twindemic" of both coronavirus and flu cases overloading hospitals this fall. He encouraged ongoing precautions such as social distancing and face coverings as well.

"For the fall, let's learn from the summer," he said. "We've been through hell and back. Let's learn the lessons."