While much of New York’s elderly population, including many in high-risk nursing homes, are still waiting to receive their COVID-19 vaccinations, Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo has bumped up priority for drug addicts in rehab facilities, who will start to get their vaccinations this week.
“During a virtual news conference in Albany, Cuomo said the state was expecting to receive a combined 259,000 doses of Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines,” the report said. “In addition to urgent care center employees and ‘individuals who are administering the COVID-19 vaccines, for obvious reasons,’ Cuomo said that shots would be given to residents of ‘OASAS’ — the state Office of Addiction Services and Supports.”
“These are congregate facilities. Congregate facilities are problematic. That’s where you have a lot of people in concentration,” Cuomo said at the presser, adding, “Nursing homes are obviously the most problematic because they’re congregate plus older, vulnerable people. OASAS facilities, what we call the O facilities, they’re congregate — not necessarily older — but congregate facilities.”
According to the Post, the New York Association of Substance Abuse Providers lobbied for addicts in rehab facilities to get vaccinated.
“We were overlooked initially. We got the governor’s office’s attention and Gov. Cuomo acted appropriately,” said Luke Nasta, the nonprofit’s director.
Nasta agued that drug addicts are likely “to get the disease and spread it,” and therefore should be prioritized.
The news of Cuomo’s new prioritization for the vaccine promoted angered responses from New Yorkers online, including from those still waiting for their elderly family members to receive the vaccination. The elderly, of course, are far and away the most at-risk population on average to suffer complications from the virus, including death.
NYS is continuing to demonstrate the most bizarre priorities.
There are several million seniors and immuno-compromised New York State residents. As the folks with the highest death rates from COVID, why are they not at the top of the list? https://t.co/uCa3IcCU7o
— Councilman Deutsch (@ChaimDeutsch) December 29, 2020
My 89 year old mother can’t get vaccinated yet but dope addicts are next up. Peak NY. https://t.co/5HE0bmFTHF
— Reggie Dunlop (@sgtbuzzcut) December 29, 2020
EMS workers to get covid vaccine in same wave as drug addicts.https://t.co/8AMB92nUyQ
— Bob Lonsberry (@BobLonsberry) December 29, 2020
Cuomo has faced criticism for authorizing an order early on in the pandemic to force COVID-positive longterm care residents back to their care facilities, resulting in deaths estimated into the thousands, if not more. The Daily Wire reported on the devastating policy:
The policy, which was eventually repealed, may have led to thousands of deaths statewide. State officials, reticent to admit that the policy put a population particularly vulnerable to the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, claim just 6,500 people died after being exposed to coronavirus in an institutional setting. The Associated Press, which conducted its own data analysis, suggested in August that the state was severely undercounting nursing home deaths, perhaps by as much as 65%.
Earlier this month, Cuomo announced that his next 80,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine would go to residents of long-term care facilities. In his state’s vaccination plan, the elderly in long-term care facilities are also named in “Phase 1.” However, with some in the population still yet to be offered the vaccination, Cuomo has apparently made room for the addicts in rehabilitation centers.
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