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Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday that New York is “ready, willing and able” to release its second-dose COVID-19 vaccine reserves to give more New Yorkers their first doses — so long as the federal government green-lights the move.
“The federal position is clear. Use the first dose for the first dose. Use the second dose for the second dose,” Cuomo said during an Albany press briefing, noting that he has discussed the matter with the Biden administration.
“I have spoken to them about using a percentage of the second dose for the first dose. It’s complicated, but I think it could be done,” he said.
Cuomo added, “The federal government is not there at this point. They have not approved it, but if they do approve it then New York is ready, willing and able to do it, but it’s a federal decision.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio has been calling on the federal government for weeks to allow New York City to dole out its reserve of second-dose shots for those in need of a first dose amid a national shortage of COVID-19 vaccine.
De Blasio even sent a letter asking the state Department of Health for approval to use second doses of the vaccine as first doses, but embattled state health commissioner Howard Zucker shot down that request in an open letter back to de Blasio.
“That is a federal decision,” Cuomo said during his briefing Friday. “The state does not make that decision. The federal government controls the allocation. We get a first dose allocation, we get a second dose allocation.”
“When we get it from the federal government, they say use the first dose for the first dose and the second dose for the second dose,” said Cuomo. “That’s why there’s a first dose allocation and that’s why there’s a second dose allocation.”