Ns News Online Desk: ALBANY —New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he will set up his own review board to double check any federally approved COVID-19 vaccine, citing his distrust of President Trump and calling Washington’s efforts to fast-track the drug “politicized” ahead of the November election
Raising concerns over the drug’s administration in New York, Cuomo argued Thursday that a second team of handpicked “experts” must also review the vaccine’s efficacy ahead of getting the green light in the Empire State.
He named the first of two committees, the first comprised of nearly 20 government, labor and health officials — including Ken Raske, head of the powerful healthcare lobby Greater New York Hospital Association; Northwell Health chief Michael Dowling, who sat by the governor’s side at many coronavirus briefings throughout the pandemic’s height; 1199 SEIU’s George Gresham; as well as Cuomo-loyalists, the new SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras and state Budget Director Robert Mujica.
This review committee will advise the governor on proper implementation, distribution, data collection and safety protocols, “so I can look at the camera and I can say to New Yorkers that it’s safe to take. I want to make sure that we know it’s safe to take,” Cuomo explained.
“On the issue of the vaccine, like everything else in this country, it’s partisan and it’s questioned and there’s controversy about it. The way the federal government has handled the vaccine, there are now serious questions about whether or not the vaccine is become politicized,” Cuomo told reporters during a Manhattan press briefing.
“The President is once again in a dispute with the FDA. FDA says they want to make the approval more rigorous, more transparent. President says they’re trying to politicize it. Why would FDA be politicizing the approval? Between the President and the FDA, only one entity has engaged in the political process and is heading for Election Day,” he claimed.
“It’s not the FDA. I don’t think Dr. Hahn is running for anything. Is Dr. Hahn running for any office? No. So, I don’t see what political interest Dr. Hahn, head of the FDA, has. President Trump is engaged in the political process and has an Election Day.” “The vaccine plan will include prioritization of the vaccine. Who gets the vaccine first based on medical standards, not anything else. How do we distribute it, who can administer it, how can we train those people, how do we train them now?”
The governor will be naming a second group of doctors, scientists and healthcare experts within the near future according to officials, they will assess the medical safety and efficacy of the drug. Trump said last week the nation’s billion-dollar coronavirus vaccine effort is in its “final stages,” and that the country’s top doctors and scientists have been working around the clock since last January to come up with an effective product.
Pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer are reportedly close to the end stages, and could produce results as early as the end of October. The United States recorded 200,000 virus-related deaths Tuesday.
New York has tracked 33,090 confirmed and presumed coronavirus deaths according to data reported by Johns Hopkins University Thursday, and the state Department of Health has recorded 25,439 confirmed virus fatalities.