President Trump has been pushing to roll out a vaccine for COVID-19 before he faces voters on November 3. That has raised alarm among critics, including Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Speaking Thursday, Cuomo accused the president of interfering with the work of the Food and Drug Administration, the agency charged with ensuring the vaccine’s safety.
“Is the vaccine safe? Frankly, I’m not going to trust the Federal Government’s opinion,” Cuomo said. “And I wouldn’t recommend to New Yorkers, based on the Federal Government’s opinion.”
Instead, Cuomo said he will establish two separate task forces: One to review the safety of any vaccine, and another to focus on its implementation and distribution.
“New York State will have its own review when the Federal Government is finished with their review and says it’s safe,” Cuomo said. “We are going to put together our own review committee, headed by the Department of Health that will advise me.”
Asked about Cuomo’s response to the push for a vaccine, President Trump was quick to respond, adding to a feud that has been brewing for months.
“We have numerous companies,” Trump said. “We have Johnson & Johnson. We have Pfizer. We have Moderna. We have others, too. They’re great companies—the best in the world. So I think you put the people of New York in great risk, and he’s done that. If you look at the nursing homes, 11,000 people died needlessly.”
Cuomo announced a 16-person task force to review that vaccine.
It consists primarily of health experts, members of his staff and friends. This is certainly not the first time the governor’s response to a potential problem has been to appoint a task force comprised of loyalists.
However, Cuomo will name a separate task force in the coming weeks that will make the scientific determination of whether the vaccine is safe.