De Blasio: New York fined city, confiscated vaccines after health officials vaccinated emergency responders

NEW YORK CITY, NY – Democratic New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has said in a radio interview that the state of New York fined the city of New Rochelle and confiscated vaccines, because officials in New Rochelle had allowed emergency responders to receive the coronavirus vaccine.

As we previously reported, de Blasio and New York’s Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo have lately been butting heads over the prioritization of vaccine recipients.

Cuomo placed recovering addicts in residential facilities first on his list in late December 2020, ahead of vulnerable elderly people and front-line emergency responders.

Shortly thereafter, on January 6, Mayor de Blasio announced his plan to vaccinate members of the NYPD. 

A mere hour later, however, Cuomo put a stop to this idea, stating:

“Police who are not health care workers are not yet eligible.”

On his weekly “Ask the Mayor” segment on WNYC’s The Brian Lehrer Show on January 8, de Blasio updated his audience on his vaccination plans and the most recent actions of the State of New York in regards to rolling out the vaccine. 

The mayor told Lehrer,

“We are putting in place the apparatus on Sunday and Monday to begin vaccinating New Yorkers over 75, who are the most vulnerable New Yorkers, and first responders and essential workers.”

The mayor went on to say that there were over 125 vaccination locations planned.

However, de Blasio added, vaccine distribution was entirely contingent on the approval of the state of New York.

He stated:

“I also have to acknowledge the state of New York will not legally allow us to vaccinate New Yorkers over 75 who are vulnerable.  Nor essential workers.

“And we’re just going to be ready [to vaccinate] on the assumption that the public outcry and the sheer facts, and, and what our healthcare leaders are saying are finally going to break through to the state and that they’re going to allow us to do this.”

The mayor continued:

“So we’ll be ready on Sunday and Monday, but we’re still fighting for the legal right, we’re fighting for that freedom to vaccinate that we need.”

Lehrer asked de Blasio why he did not simply plan on proceeding with the vaccinations, and “ask for forgiveness later,” rather than waiting for permission from the state of New York.

De Blasio responded:

“Look, I understand that, and I feel that, but here’s the problem:

“I mean, as I understand some breaking news just now that the city of New Rochelle, which obviously was in the epicenter of the beginning of the crisis, they just proceeded to vaccinate first responders and essential workers, and the state of New York announced that they are fining the city and taking away their vaccines, which is punitive, which is counterproductive, which is stopping vaccine from being used.”

De Blasio went on to recount a story of local health officials in upstate New York having to throw away vaccines rather than administer them to a waiting public, because the state threatened doctors’ licenses and would have fined the officials $1 million for not administering to the chosen few. 

He added:

“Talk about arbitrary and capricious.

“The state has to relent here.  They’ve created a situation that’s creating fear and confusion, and where doctors can’t act even when they know someone’s vulnerable.”

When Lehrer asked de Blasio about vaccinations in the jail and prison population, de Blasio stated that “unquestionably,” pending authorization from the state, he would place those in the jail system on “high priority,” including corrections officers.

However, he added, at this time there is only a “small narrow authorization to do high-risk detainees” but “we are not authorized [by the state] to vaccinate corrections officers.”

De Blasio also indicated that he thought that vaccinations would be an answer to the current plague of recidivism and early release of criminals in New York.

In response to a caller concerned the “uptick in crime” in the city, de Blasio described “precision policing” and “neighborhood policing” in New York City as a successful way to approach crime during the past six years.

He added:

“We know that when there’s a pinpoint problem, you put more officers there and you use strategies to address it.

“That’s what we will be doing in 2021 again, but this time we will have the advantage of, as soon as the vaccination efforts advance, including wanting to vaccinate police officers so we don’t have so many out sick.”

De Blasio went on to say:

“When we have the full force available to us, which has not been the case for so much of 2020, we’ll be able to do that precision policing a lot more effectively.”

The mayor added that if personnel in the court system were vaccinated, cases would proceed and adjudication would be possible again, and penalties would actually be assessed.

He concluded:

“I am confident that the vaccine actually is the gateway to also solving the crime problem because it will allow us to go back to the very strategies that worked absolutely consistently for six years….

“We need the vaccine….

“We need to get the whole criminal justice system functioning again.”

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Gov. Cuomo shuts down Mayor de Blasio’s plan to roll out vaccine to NYPD officers

NEW YORK CITY, NY – It appears that the officers of the NYPD are caught in the middle of a political strife between Mayor Bill de Blasio’s aspirations to have the pandemic vaccine administered to law enforcement, while Governor Andrew Cuomo says that police need to placed lower on the prioritization list

It was roughly one hour after Mayor de Blasio announced his intentions to see the COVID-19 vaccine rolled out to police that Governor Cuomo put the breaks on the endeavor.

Instead, Governor Cuomo believes that mainly health care workers and patients in nursing homes should be placed in front of the proverbial line for the vaccine, citing the current limited number of doses available. 

When Mayor de Blasio had initially announced his intentions to see New York’s Finest be afforded the vaccine in an expedient manner – hoping to see at least 10,000 shots administered by January 10th – police unions were, in rare form, elated with the mayor. 

But, that elation was short-lived after Governor Cuomo took the proverbial wheel and changed course. 

Paul DiGiacomo, president of the Detectives’ Endowment Association, was among those disheartened by Governor Cuomo’s redirection of vaccine distribution: 

“Why the governor doesn’t find us important enough to get the vaccination is beyond my belief.”

When Mayor de Blasio was delivering his daily coronavirus briefing on January 6th, he wanted to relay that the city was going to work to ensure that police officers – whose work compels them to be in close proximity with the public – had expedient access to the vaccine. 

As early as December 23rd, fire department EMTs and the likes of hospital workers were started to get vaccinated as they were listed as being the top priority for the state. 

But, in a reasonable argument lodged by police, officers cited that they should fall in line with that top-tier designation as they often respond to medical emergencies and also wind up interviewing many crime victims at hospitals. 

However, according to Governor Cuomo, many police officers aren’t “yet eligible” to be considered for a prioritized vaccination: 

“Police who are not health care workers are not yet eligible. We need to get the health care population done first because they are the front line, as I mentioned before.”

When Mayor de Blasio made the comments about police officers getting listed among prioritized vaccine recipients, it’s not as though he was seemingly going rouge.

According to Mayor de Blasio spokesperson, Bill Neidhardt, New York City as led to believe that police and corrections officers could be added to the fold. And from what Neidhardt stated, it seems that the city still wants to employ the common-sense distribution method:

“New York City is asking for the freedom to vaccinate more high-risk workers who are out there saving the lives of New Yorkers. It’s simple. We have the doses, let’s put it in their arms and help them save lives.”

Of the roughly 25,000 police officers within the NYPD that have public-facing roles, currently only about 400 officers fall under the vaccine-eligible front-line workers defined by Governor Cuomo, as they’re medics in the emergency service unit. 

When commenting on the back and forth that has ensued between Mayor de Blasio and Governor Cuomo regarding the handling of the pandemic overall, DiGiacomo stated that a “personality conflict” in hindering the rightful treatment of NYPD officers: 

“It appears to me to be a personality conflict between the mayor and the governor. What’s going on with the way the politicians are treating the police is unethical and unfair.”

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Author: Lizzy Murica

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