New York Seeks to Buy Vaccines Directly From Pfizer
By Jim Carlton
Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday asked Pfizer Inc. if it would sell
its Covid-19 vaccine directly to New York state, to help alleviate
a shortfall of federally allocated doses that he blames on the
In a letter to Pfizer Chairman and Chief Executive Albert
Bourla, the Democratic governor said he was appealing to the
company directly after Health and Human Services Secretary Alex
Azar failed to deliver on a commitment to increase the doses to New
York state. Mr. Cuomo's request is believed to be the first time a
governor has attempted to bypass the federal government and get a
state its own supply of vaccine.
The governor said the state received 250,000 doses this week --
50,000 fewer than last week -- even after the U.S. Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention expanded the population eligible to
get a dose, to people age 65 and up.
With about seven million New Yorkers now eligible, Mr. Cuomo
said it would take as long as seven months to vaccinate them all at
the current supply. The state has recorded more than 33,000
Covid-19 deaths, the highest in the nation.
"It is abundantly clear that these vaccines are the weapons that
will finally win the war against Covid-19," Mr. Cuomo said in the
letter to Pfizer, which is based in New York. "But with
hospitalizations and deaths increasing across the country this
winter, we are in a footrace with the virus, and we will lose
unless we dramatically increase the number of doses getting to New
Mr. Cuomo told the CEO he believed Pfizer wasn't bound by
commitments that the other major vaccine provider, Moderna Inc.,
made as part of President Trump's Operation Warp Speed, and could
sell directly to the state.
Pfizer spokeswoman Jerica Pitts said the company "is open" to a
broader collaboration model that would help expedite the
distribution. However, she said federal approval would be needed
for any direct sales to states.
Health and Human Services officials weren't immediately
available for comment.
Write to Jim Carlton at email@example.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
January 18, 2021 15:38 ET (20:38 GMT)
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