Minority Conference Leaders in the state Legislature recently penned a letter to Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker, former Secretary to the Governor Larry Schwartz and Secretary of State Rossana Rosado imploring officials to answer several questions about the state’s vaccine rollout and distribution efforts.
Members from the Assembly and Senate Minority Conferences were briefed by Dr. Zucker and Mr. Schwartz on Tuesday, Jan. 5 about the state’s vaccine distribution. However, only five legislators were given the opportunity to pose questions pertaining to the state’s delayed vaccine rollout.
“The early stages of the state’s vaccine rollout and distribution plan is already behind and, quite frankly, it’s inexcusable,” said Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay. “New Yorkers need to be confident in the state’s expedient and thorough distribution of the vaccine, and the current plan is not instilling that confidence. Dr. Zucker must address a number of questions – that remain unasked and unanswered – regarding the vaccine’s distribution, including why New York State is being outperformed by other states’ ability to administer vaccines to their residents.”
“While we appreciate the Health Commissioner taking the time to speak to our conference and field questions from our members -- unfortunately, many questions went unanswered and, in some instances, we were given mixed messages and conflicting information,” said Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt. “The bottom line is the vaccine rollout throughout the state has been inefficient and ineffective, and I look forward to getting the answers that we, and all New Yorkers, deserve.”
“We are still waiting on the governor’s administration to provide an accurate number of nursing home deaths, and now we are left to question the state’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution and administration methods,” said Assemblyman Kevin Byrne, ranking Minority member on the Assembly Committee on Health. “These are unprecedented times, and this rollout could be one of the most important health undertakings our state has been tasked with in modern history. The governor’s administration, including DOH Commissioner Dr. Zucker, must take the time needed to work with representatives of the Legislature and answer these important questions. Right now, New York is woefully behind and needs to do better. Answers are required and we must work together.”
“Members of the Legislature and the residents they represent deserve detailed answers to the many questions regarding the state’s vaccine distribution plan. Timely, accurate information is the only way to ensure confidence in the state’s ability to administer the vaccine fairly and efficiently.We need full transparency,” said Senator Patrick M. Gallivan, ranking Minority member of the Senate Committee on Health.
A copy of the letter is available here.