Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced he is signing executive orders that will curtail fraud in vaccine distribution. He's also extending the eviction moratorium and putting a hold on pay raises for elected officials.
Cuomo emphasized the importance of making sure the proper people are getting the vaccine. He said during a news conference on Monday that his executive order will increase the penalty for any provider that disregards COVID-19 vaccine prioritization.
Gov. Cuomo says any provider that intentionally administers a vaccine to a person who is not eligible could face a $1 million penalty and the revocation of all state licenses. The executive order also states the eligibility of recipients will have to be certified as part of the vaccine process.
With the eviction moratorium set to expire, Cuomo has said he will be extending the deadline now to May 1. The moratorium prevents tenants from being evicted due to non-payment of rent related to harships of the pandemic.
Another executive order will withhold pay raises from New York State commissioners and elected officials. That includes Governor Cuomo himself. According to the governor, it's the "right thing to do."
The governor's office says 140,000 people have already received one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in New York State. That puts New York at the top of the national chart for vaccine doses that have actually been administered. Cuomo said the state expects to receive another 259,000 doses of vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna this week.
The governor says vaccine distribution is also being expanded to these priority populations:
- Urgent care center employees
- Individuals administering COVID-19 vaccines, including local health dept. staff
- Residents of OASAS facilities
The news comes as COVID-19 positivity rates remain high in certain regions of the state. The Finger Lakes, Capital Region, and the Mowhawk Valley are all well above 7% with the Mowhawk Valley seeing the highest rate at 9.26%.