ALBANY — Governors including Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday asked the federal government to publish COVID-19 vaccine data more clearly and effectively coordinate distribution programs to avoid sending double shipments to a vaccination site.
Leaders of the National Governors Association, which Cuomo chairs, penned a letter to President Joe Biden on Monday asking the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to update the agency’s methods of reporting vaccine data and prevent disinformation.
CDC publishes data about the amount of delivered vaccines and the number of distributed injections in all states and territories.
“The CDC reporting mechanism has created unnecessary confusion,” according to the letter, signed by nine governors in NGA leadership positions. “We would ask that the CDC reporting accurately reflects the reality.”
Governors asked the agency to differentiate between what doses are slated for certain programs or first or second injections for patients so states do not send additional portions of their allocations to facilities that already received vials, officials said.
“We need better coordination between the federal government and the state government so we know what pharmacies they’re sending to so we don’t send to the same ones,” Cuomo said Monday during a COVID-19 briefing at the state Capitol. “Local government doesn’t send to the same pharmacies because some pharmacies do a better job than others. Some pharmacies are already getting a distribution so if the federal government is sending to CVS then I wouldn’t send to CVS. We’re asking for coordination with the federal government in those regards.”
Cuomo and other governors met with Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and federal officials Friday.
“We believe it is important that the CDC in its reporting distinguish between these separate efforts to avoid confusion and provide a clear understanding to the American people,” according to the governors’ letter sent on behalf of the association. “States also need visibility into the federal vaccination efforts at the facility level happening in our borders.”
The federal government directly provides vaccine supply to Federal Emergency Management Agency-run sites, pharmacies, nursing homes for the federal long-term care vaccination program and community-based Federally Qualified Health Centers.
The state also allocates doses to pharmacies, hospitals, mass vaccination sites and localities, which also locate vials to health centers, pharmacies and local vaccination sites.
“That’s why you have this massive distribution network,” Cuomo said. Many points of distribution, many options for people, but it also creates confusion.
“June, May, you should see the situation flip where all those distribution points will make it easier for the consumer.”
The federal government allocates dosages to states based on population.
The state receives about 315,000 doses of the vaccine each week, and just completed its ninth week of distribution.
Vaccine appointments remain scarce for the roughly 10 million New Yorkers eligible to receive the two-dose immunization, including health workers, first responders, teachers, people age 65 and over and people with underlying conditions and comorbidities.
The backlog of appointments will not ease without additional vaccine supply.
Biden and federal White House Coronavirus Task Force officials have announced they purchased additional COVID-19 vaccine supply from approved drugmakers Pfizer and Moderna.
A patient in a New York City hospital tested positive for the South African variant of the novel coronavirus over the weekend.
The person is a Connecticut resident who was transferred to a city hospital, Cuomo said.
“We have no evidence of spread in New York state to date,” he said.
Medical personnel and scientists do not have accurate reports about how contagious or lethal the South African variant is.
The state’s COVID-19 infection rate dipped to 3.53% Monday, down from about 4.3% for most of last week. The state’s seven-day average is 3.74%.
Statewide virus hospitalizations ticked up 30 people to 6,623 patients Monday, but continue to decline an average of 156 people per day.
The state reported 103 New Yorkers died from COVID-19 on Sunday — down from about 130 each day for the last two weeks.