WASHINGTON (NEWS10) — President Donald Trump said Friday the coronavirus vaccine will be coming to the United States in April, but it may not be immediately distributed to the state of New York.
The president held a press conference in the Rose Garden Friday afternoon to provide an update on Operation Warp Speed and the coronavirus vaccine recently announced by Pfizer of having over 90 percent efficacy.
Trump said that after the vaccine receives federal approval it will be coming to the U.S. by April and will begin national distribution. However, the president claimed that New York State would not be receiving the vaccine unless Gov. Andrew Cuomo authorized it.
“As soon as April, the vaccine will be available to the entire general population with the exception of places like New York State where, for political reasons, the Governor decided to say—and I don’t think it’s good politically, I think it’s very bad from a health standpoint—but he wants to take his time with the vaccine,” the president said. “He doesn’t trust the fact that it’s this White House, this administration, so we won’t be delivering it to New York until we have authorization to do so.”
The president said he could not give the vaccine to New York if the Governor would not allow it to be distributed.
“We can’t be delivering it to a state that won’t be giving it to it’s people immediately, and I know the people of New York very well. I know they want it, so the Governor will let us know when he’s ready,” Trump said.
Trump also mentioned negative press Cuomo has received on his handling of nursing homes during the pandemic and said he hopes “he doesn’t handle this as badly as he’s handled the nursing homes.”
Top Cuomo advisor Rich Azzopardi tweeted in response to Pres. Trump’s comments:
Cuomo appeared on national news sites Friday evening to respond to Trump’s comments. On MSNBC, he told Katy Tur that none of what the president said was true. He also emphasized that a vaccine won’t be delayed, but the state will ensure it wasn’t rushed and will be effective.
“The day they distribute the vaccine, we will be ready to start the distribution,” he said. “Our review of the FDA protocol will be simultaneous concurrent with their delivery. We’re not going to have any lag in time. But I do want to say to the people of this state, ‘trust the vaccine.'”
“So as soon as the FDA approves it, we’ll have our panel approve it, seven other states will review it, and then I can say to the people of New York, ‘I know you were dubious, but we had a separate panel review it; it’s safe. Take it.’ Because if we have a vaccine that people don’t trust, it doesn’t accomplish anything anyway, Wolf,” Cuomo said.
New York Attorney General Letitia James also released a statement:
“This is nothing more than vindictive behavior by a lame-duck president trying to extract vengeance on those who oppose his politics. Once there is a fully-developed COVID-19 vaccine, we are confident that a Biden-Harris Administration will provide New York with the proper number of doses so that our state’s residents can achieve immunity. If dissemination of the vaccine takes place in the twilight of a Trump Administration and the president wants to play games with people’s lives, we will sue and we will win.”
As part of his press conference, the president said that when the vaccine is available for distribution, it will be given to frontline workers, the elderly, and high-risk Americans first.