By Kimberly Brown
Republican elected officials gathered at a press conference in Hauppauge Thursday, Jan. 14, calling out Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) on the state’s failed vaccine rollout.
State senators, including Mario Mattera (R-St. James) and Anthony Palumbo (R-New Suffolk), demanded that Cuomo implement a plan to fix issues that have arisen since the vaccine was authorized to be distributed.
Senior citizen and West Babylon resident, Anna Foley, shared her experience of how difficult it has been to obtain the vaccine, which she has still not received.
“I’m 83 years old, fighting two types of cancer and other underlying medical problems,” she said. “I can’t seem to get anyone to help. I have looked at the New York State website, called pharmacies, doctors, hospitals, and I even tried my union to see if I can get any information, to no avail.”
Foley mentioned the difficulties senior citizens are facing while trying to make an appointment for the vaccine, saying that most people ages 80 and over are not computer savvy, and the locations where the vaccine is administered are too far to drive to.
Mattera pointed out how the federal government still has not released the new vaccine to pharmacy chains like Walgreens and CVS, giving residents fewer options of locations where they can receive the vaccine.
In his plea to the governor, Mattera said, “Get the vaccine here and get more locations. Right now, there are four locations, and do you know what they say? They say, ‘We don’t know what to do, we can’t help you.’ It’s unacceptable.”
The partial and full closings of businesses, mandated by Cuomo, were intended to combat rising numbers of COVID-19 cases. However, Palumbo said even though businesses are partially closed, the cases are still increasing.
“The Legislature needs to get involved, we need to get control back,” he said. “We need to get those vaccinations out, and as quickly as possible — not throw them in the garbage.”
Many of the politicians also discussed the bill Cuomo signed into law June 17, which would allow every pharmacist in New York state to administer the COVID-19 vaccine. State Assemblyman Doug Smith (R-Holbrook) demanded to know why the bill has not been put into full force.
“Now we’re in January, governor, where is your plan?” Smith said. “Why is every single pharmacy in the state of New York not able to administer this vaccine?”