Hudson Valley hospitals slow to distribute vaccines, face $100,000 fines
Hospitals across New York are not doing a good job in getting their COVID-19 vaccines distributed and some of the worst are in the Hudson Valley, according Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Gov. Cuomo says less than half of New York's vaccines have been distributed. Montefiore Health Systems, which has nearly a dozen locations in the region, and Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla have allocated just one-third of their vaccines each. That ranks them among the worst for distribution rates across nearly 200 hospitals in the state. As a result, state officials have ordered hospitals to distribute all their vaccines by the end of the week or faces fines up to $100,000. He could also disqualify hospitals from administering future doses if they can't use them within seven days. "This is a management issue of the hospitals. They have to move the vaccine and they have to move the vaccine faster," said Cuomo.
Westchester County officials say they are stepping in to help. "Up to this point, the county executives have had no control over the hospitals. If at this point forward, we're going to be given authority to act with power and force, we will act with power and force," says Westchester County Executive George Latimer. Westchester Medical and Montefiore have declined to comment on what's taking so long, but Westchester Executive George Latimer is confident local hospitals will meet the state's requirements.
Less than 300,000 New Yorkers have received at least their first dose of the vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
New York isn’t the only state that has been slow to give the vaccines. U.S. health officials have only administered about 30% of the 15.4 million Pfizer and Moderna vaccines distributed nationwide. According to the CDC, only South Dakota, North Dakota, Tennessee, and Connecticut have given out more than half of their delivered doses. Arizona is disputing the CDC data that puts it on a list of states administering fewer than 25% of their vaccines.
The Westchester Medical Center Health Network issued the following statement: Westchester Medical Center is moving swiftly through our vaccine allocation. Daily we are vaccinating hundreds of our workforce members. Earlier this week, we also began administering the second dose to our workforce. We are closely following New York State guidelines for vaccine prioritization and distribution, and are working under those guidelines hand-in-hand with nearly 200 community partners, including county departments of health, local government, emergency service and other community providers, to deploy vaccine allocations as they become available.