New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is proposing a law to make it a crime to sell or administer coronavirus vaccine shots to people who are trying to skip ahead in line.
“This vaccine can be like gold to some people,” Cuomo said at a press briefing Monday. “If there’s any fraud in the distribution — you’re letting people get ahead of other people, or friends or family, or they’re selling the vaccine — you’ll lose your license, but I do believe it should be criminal, and I’m going to propose a law to that effect.”
Cuomo said providers can lose their license if they fraudulently administer vaccines, though the law would add criminal penalties if approved by the state legislature. So far, health-care workers and people living in nursing homes and assisted living facilities are eligible for Covid-19 vaccines. The announcement comes just over a week after one New York clinic, ParCare Community Health Network, was accused of misrepresenting itself to the state’s department of health to obtain vaccine doses.
New York has already started administering Covid-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna, though the rollout has been slower than planned. Cuomo pushed the state’s hospitals to administer the vaccine faster. He said hospitals are facing fines of up to $100,000 if they don’t administer their allocations of coronavirus vaccines by the end of this week. The state has received more than 774,000 Covid-19 vaccine doses but has given just 237,000 shots as of Saturday, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CNBC).
On average, hospitals across New York state have administered about 46% of the vaccines they have received so far, according to the governor’s presentation. Some health care centers, such as the NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital system, have given out 99% of the vaccines they have received, while others lagged far behind at 15%, Cuomo said. And though he acknowledged that smaller hospitals were at an advantage, he said the issue was not solely one of size (CNN).
POLITICS EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: AL BELLO/GETTY