Gillibrand Speaks About Authorization of Pfizer
U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) released the following statement following the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) authorization of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine:
“While we celebrate the FDA’s authorization of a vaccine that puts us one step closer to eradicating COVID-19, we have to face reality — states and localities need federal support to ensure the vaccine is distributed efficiently and equitably to those who need it the most and our families and small businesses need immediate economic relief from their federal government.”
Jeffries on How to Distribute the Vaccine
U.S. Reps. Hakeem Jeffries (D-Brooklyn, Queens) along with other representatives joined Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Friday to highlight health disparities amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Together, they outlined the need for funding at the federal level to ensure the vaccine is equitably and effectively distributed among the communities hardest hit by this pandemic.
‘The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a lot of pain and suffering and death to the American people, disproportionately communities of color, immigrant communities, low income communities and throughout Indian Country. That is unacceptable, unconscionable and un-American in a country that promises life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness to everyone, regardless of race, regardless of ethnicity, regardless of region, regardless of zip code. And so, we have to continue to press the case together to make sure that as the vaccines become available, they are disseminated in an equitable, efficient and effective fashion to everyone. But let the dissemination be driven by the data and the need.
“And we know that that in fact is going to be in communities of color, in immigrant communities and throughout Indian country. So, I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues to make sure that the resources are provided here in New York state and throughout the country to make sure that this can be done. It’s going to take about $8 billion to do it. The government under this administration has only provided states with about $200 million. That is barely a drop in the bucket, and we’re going to work on this issue together,” he stated.
Adams Talks about the Vaccine
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams released a statement that he was cautiously optimistic about Mayor de Blasio’s plan for an equitable distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine to the hardest hit neighborhoods and populations that have suffered the most during the pandemic.
“For months, we’ve watched as the tale of two cities has become a tale of two pandemics, with Black and Brown lower-income communities experiencing a disproportionate amount of deaths, hospitalizations, and cases due to the coronavirus. The failure to address these disparities, which have roots in deeper inequities that existed long before the pandemic hit, has understandably left many in these communities concerned and uncertain about being vaccinated.
“Last Saturday, I stood with Council Member Cornegy and the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) at Interfaith Medical Center to urge the City to prioritize communities that had been hit hardest by the virus, after its initial distribution to frontline workers and long-term care residents. As we stated, the best way to counter widespread and justified skepticism regarding the vaccine is to deputize credible messengers in these communities to communicate with residents in a language they understand.
“Today, I am glad that the City has laid out a plan that heeds some of these calls. But there are still a number of unanswered questions as to how the vaccine will be distributed, including who will be prioritized within the 27 communities that have been identified as being next in line for the vaccine, the timeline for distribution, and more. The work in front of us is extremely daunting, but we must work diligently to repair trust in these communities, and to finally address the underlying inequities that created this crisis in the first place,” he finished.
Schumer Says More Transit Funds Needed in New Stimulus Bill
U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) said yesterday that New York’s transit system is in such a desperate need for a cash infusion because of the pandemic, that if transit funds are not included in the down-to-the-wire stimulus deal now being worked on in Washington, the NYC Metropolitan area will face an even harder economic recovery when COVID crests.
As such, Schumer is demanding the inclusion of another $4 billion dollars in fed funds for the MTA—and overall transit funds for the country—as he made his push.
“I’ve said it before and I will say it again: mass transit is the lifeblood of New York and New York is the beating heart of the American economy,” said Schumer. “I am hard at work trying to deliver a second $4 billion dollars for the MTA to keep the system flowing, workers working, riders riding and the economy running. Without transit funds now, and also into the Biden administration, NYC, LI, Westchester and New Jersey will face an even harder recovery—and really—so will the nation.”
Schumer already delivered an original $4 billion in fed funds to the MTA as part of an earlier relief package this past March after the agency drew down on $1 billion in credit to keep the system afloat. Schumer said agency credit won’t be enough for the agency to weather the coronavirus crisis and that billions more in fed funds will be needed —during a Biden administration— to overcome the full damage done to the MTA by the coronavirus.