Skip to content
DiSanto Propane (Banner)
Home » Valentine's Day » New York State keeps counties in the dark about vaccine distribution

New York State keeps counties in the dark about vaccine distribution

Leaders from both Cayuga and Ontario counties voiced frustration with the lack of communication they experienced at the start of the vaccine rollout process in New York State.

Specifically, officials have been required to sign a ‘memorandum of understanding’, which gives the state full-control of the vaccination process.

Finger Lakes Partners (Billboard)

This is required for counties and vaccine providers to receive and administer the doses. The memorandum was delivered late-Tuesday, and came with a deadline of 12 p.m. Wednesday.

It further strained the relationship between state and county officials. Both leaders that we spoke with in Cayuga and Ontario counties shared that frustration. While they felt comfortable where things stood before the impromptu memorandum – questions remain about why Governor Andrew Cuomo’s administration is brushing aside large-scale vaccination plans.

The governor’s task force claims that nearly 20 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine needs meticulous attention to ensure that the process is done effectively – others say time is being wasted.

“We have to ensure they are following the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) guidance and the state guidance on who is to receive the vaccine,” Larry Schwartz said. He’s leading the state’s vaccination effort.

The agreement says that any county “is not at liberty to utilize the vaccine unless and until it is directed to administer it by (the state health department) at a later date, which may involve allocation or redistribution of vaccine initially delivered to such site, and which may be further informed by (the state’s) vaccination program, vaccine prioritization matrix, or other specific directives.” It also allows for the state to redistribute the vaccine to other counties if it deems there’s a more pressing need there.

There are other major questions about how many doses are being delivered to individual counties. Especially in rural parts of Upstate New York, as well as the broader question of ‘why’ large health systems were tapped to lead the regional effort, as opposed to county health departments.