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De Blasio ‘appealing’ to Biden for COVID-19 vaccine control

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Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday that he has “appealed” to the Biden administration to arrange shipments of the COVID-19 vaccine directly to New York City — in order to bypass scandal-scarred Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s control.

“Mayors all over the country are raising this exact concern to the Biden administration,” Hizzoner said during a City Hall press briefing, explaining he’s spoken with Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms who has also been feuding with Georgia’s governor over vaccine supply and distribution.

“We’ve appealed, many of us as mayors, to the Biden administration to change the rules to provide vaccine directly and without strings attached to major cities — which have large health departments, public hospital systems, etcetera — so that we can cut out the middle person and get to work vaccinating more people and do it more quickly, more effectively,” said de Blasio.

Bill de Blasio says that New York City is "not getting our fair share of vaccine."
Bill de Blasio says that New York City is “not getting our fair share of vaccine.”
Mark Kauzlarich/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Under federal rules, New York City is guaranteed at least 43 percent of the state’s weekly share of vaccine doses from the federal government and the city has typically gotten around that much weekly, but de Blasio has been demanding a larger portion.

“We’re not getting our fair share of vaccine, even though we’re vaccinating so many people from the suburbs, even from Connecticut and New Jersey – we should be getting more vaccine from the state,” de Blasio said. “In so many ways, we’re just not getting a response. That’s why we need local control, so we can move this effort forward.”

Bill de Blasio says that he has “appealed” to the Biden administration to arrange shipments of the COVID-19 vaccine directly to New York City.
Bill de Blasio says that he has “appealed” to the Biden administration to arrange shipments of the COVID-19 vaccine directly to New York City.
Chris Kleponis/CNP/Bloomberg via Getty Images

De Blasio, who has repeatedly called for the “freedom to vaccinate,” has been pressuring the state to make other groups, including people serving on juries, eligible to get the vaccine.  

And the mayor even admitted Tuesday that he has pondered defying Cuomo and just inoculating anyone the city thinks should be eligible to receive a shot.

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Bill de Blasio wants New York City to bypass Gov. Andrew Cuomo when receiving COVID-19 vaccines.
Bill de Blasio wants New York City to bypass Gov. Andrew Cuomo when receiving COVID-19 vaccines.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

“Remember that point where I was fighting for the freedom to vaccinate senior’s, police officers, firefighters, EMTs, paramedics, educators — it was getting ridiculous,” de Blasio said. “It went on for days and days, and we certainly did consider the option of just going ahead and doing it.”

De Blasio continued, “We tried to respect the different branches of government, the different levels of government. Sometimes it’s really hard to do when you see ridiculous and arbitrary actions … I’ve seen them from Gov. Cuomo and I saw them constantly from [former] President Trump.”

Still, de Blasio said the city has been trying to “work within the structures” it was given.

De Blasio revealed his appeal to the feds after claiming in recent days that the embattled Cuomo is getting “in the way of us saving lives.” Asked specifically how the governor was gumming up the works, Hizzoner cited his unanswered pleas for more shots.

“In so many ways, we’re just not getting a response,” he said.

As of Tuesday morning, New York City has administered a total of 2,976,162 vaccine shots.

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