State lawmakers in conflict over COVID-19 vaccine

Nov 15, 2020

State political figures from opposite ends of the aisle are going head-to-head in an effort to bring the COVID-19 vaccine to New York State.

State Attorney General Letitia James says she is ready to sue the Trump Administration if New York State does not receive the COVID-19 vaccine along with the rest of the United States. This comes on the heels of President Donald Trump announcing that the state would not get the vaccine until Gov. Andrew Cuomo authorizes it. The governor said last month that health officials would first need to review the vaccine report before distributing to residents.

James released a scathing statement on Friday, saying "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."

Meanwhile, several conservative state lawmakers have criticized the governor for not authorizing distribution of the vaccine. Reps. Tom Reed, Elise Stefanik and Chris Jacobs released a joint statement in which they claim the governor's efforts are unethical and are putting lives in jeopardy.

"New Yorkers don't need Governor Cuomo to decide what life-saving medical resources they should or shouldn't have access to," they said. "Instead, they need their leaders to put aside the politics and prioritize combating this virus together."

Cuomo said Sunday that 69% of Americans expressed a lack of confidentce in the president's vouch for the vaccine and that confidence needs to be restored before administering the vaccine. He explained that an expert panel will review the FDA's process and that New York is ready to receive the vaccine now.