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Gov. Andrew Cuomo has urged Americans to be “very skeptical” of any COVID-19 vaccine developed under the direction of the administration, suggesting it could be unsafe and that wouldn’t matter to President Donald Trump because he wants credit for it.
In an interview with ABC’s “Good Morning America” co-host George Stephanopoulos, the New York Democrat leveled the unprecedented criticism at the Trump administration’s efforts to quickly develop a vaccine as part of several therapeutics aimed at stamping out the pandemic.
“I don’t believe the American people are that confident,” Cuomo said. “You’re going to say to the American people now, ‘Here’s a vaccine. It was new, it was done quickly, but trust this federal administration and their health administration that it’s safe, and we’re not 100 percent sure of the consequences?’”
“I think it’s going to be a very skeptical American public about taking the vaccine, and they should be,” he added.
Stephanopoulos then asked Cuomo what it would take for him to be confident in a new COVID-19 vaccine.
“What I said we’re going to do in New York is we’re going to put together our own group of doctors and medical experts to review the vaccine and the efficacy and the protocol,” he said.
“If they say it’s safe then I’ll go to the people of New York and I will say it’s safe.”
It’s unclear how long Cuomo believes his state review process would take as he did not elaborate. But any additional review process will no doubt delay vaccine distribution in a state where his coronavirus policies did not prevent New York from becoming the leader in COVID-19 deaths.
The governor then went on to impugn the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“I believe all across the country you’re going to need someone other than this FDA and this CDC saying it’s safe,” said Cuomo.
Stephanopoulos responded, “And that means we’re gonna need a change in the White House, is that what you’re saying?”
“Look, I personally hope for a change in the White House, but put that aside,” Cuomo answered, claiming that neither federal health agency has “credibility.”
Other Democratic figures and left-leaning media outlets have also raised doubts about a Trump-managed COVID vaccine, unfounded warnings that would lead to thousands more deaths of Americans who were talked out of trusting it.
The politicization of vaccines comes as tens of thousands of doses are currently rolling off manufacturing lines at drug-maker Pfizer, with an expected delivery date of December if clinical trials find it to be safe.
“Pfizer, which is working with Germany’s BioNTech, is currently running a trial on 44,000 people, and last week said it plans to apply for emergency US approval of its vaccine in November,” the Daily Mail reported.
But Cuomo wasn’t done. The New York Democrat then falsely claimed the Trump administration has yet to develop or talk about a plan to distribute the tens of millions of doses of the vaccine once it is ready.
“The Trump administration on Wednesday released its most detailed plan yet for distributing and administering millions of doses of a future coronavirus vaccine to Americans for free,” Politico reported last month, adding that an information campaign led by Health and Human Services will precede distribution.
Under the federal plan, the CDC requires states to submit their own measures on how they’ll handle distribution, likely so the administration can identify problems ahead of time and shift resources to meet them. Those were due by Friday, including, presumably, New York’s plan.
As for Cuomo, he has been roundly criticized for ordering state nursing homes and eldercare facilities to take in coronavirus-infected patients beginning in March, which critics say greatly inflated his state’s virus death toll.
To highlight that policy error, a group of protesters gathered in front of a Cobble Hill, Brooklyn nursing home on Sunday with a casket filled with 6,500 covers of his new book to signify the number of coronavirus deaths in elder care facilities in the state.
The book is titled, “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic.”
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