President Donald Trump said Pfizer’s new Covid-19 vaccine will be made available to the elderly and other high-risk Americans within weeks, but politicization of the drug by Governor Andrew Cuomo will delay shipments to New York.
“We won’t be delivering to New York until we have authorization to do so,” Trump told reporters Friday at a press briefing. “It pains me to say that…. The governor, Governor Cuomo, will have to let us know when he’s ready.”
Cuomo said this week that “we can’t let this vaccine plan go forward the way Trump is planning it.” Trump said that with Cuomo blocking New Yorkers from receiving the vaccine immediately for political reasons, it won’t be distributed to the state.
After first rolling out the vaccine to the most vulnerable segments of the population, it will be made available to Americans at large as soon as April, free of charge, Trump said. Distribution will begin within 24 hours of emergency authorization by the FDA. The Trump administration plans to distribute 20 million doses in December and 25 million doses each month thereafter.
The speed of that distribution could be much faster if more vaccines are approved, as Trump said is likely. Three other vaccines are in the final stages of their trials.
The Trump administration agreed to provide $1.95 billion to support Pfizer’s making of 900 million doses of the vaccine and secured an option to buy 600 million doses. The drugmaker said Monday that its BioNTech vaccine proved 90 percent effective in a late-stage trial.
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