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COVID-19: Pfizer Denies Cuomo's Request For State To Buy Vaccine Directly

Some New Yorkers are among the first to receive COVID-19 vaccines at sites set up by the state.
Some New Yorkers are among the first to receive COVID-19 vaccines at sites set up by the state. Photo Credit: Flickr/Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Pfizer has denied New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s request to buy COVID-19 vaccinations directly from the source.

On Monday, Jan. 18, Cuomo said that he approached Pfizer’s top officials asking to purchase additional allocations of the vaccine as the state begins running low on dosages with the virus still raging.

New York had been receiving approximately 300,000 doses of the vaccine per week, though that number dipped by approximately 50,000 last week as the federal supply of vaccines is dwindling.

Cuomo has been vocal in calling on the federal government for additional allocations, though he has repeatedly stated that he expects a wider distribution when the new federal administration takes office this week.

“Because you are not bound by commitments that Moderna made as part of Operation Warp Speed, I am requesting that the State of New York be permitted to directly purchase doses from you,” Cuomo wrote in a letter to Pfizer CEO and Chairman Albert Bourla.

“The distribution of any doses obtained directly from Pfizer will follow the rigorous guidance the State has established while enabling us to fill the dosage gap created this week by the outgoing federal administration.”

Despite Cuomo’s attempt at purchasing new allocations, Pfizer denied his request, stating that they need federal permission before selling off the vaccine.

“We appreciate Governor Cuomo's kind words and the pride he expressed in his letter that Pfizer is a New York-headquartered company,” officials said in a statement. “Pfizer is open to collaborating with HHS on a distribution model that gives as many Americans as possible access to our vaccine as quickly as possible.”

According to Johns Hopkins University, there have been 1,255,971 confirmed COVID-19 cases in New York, resulting in 41,173 fatalities and a 4.27 percent positive infection rate. There have been less than 650,000 COVID-19 vaccinations administered statewide.

Pfizer has headquarters in Manhattan and in Rockland County, in Pearl River.

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