Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday asked Pfizer Inc. if it would sell its Covid-19 vaccine directly to New York state, to help alleviate a shortfall of federally allocated doses that he blames on the Trump administration.
In a letter to Pfizer Chairman and Chief Executive Albert Bourla, the Democratic governor said he was appealing to the company directly after Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar failed to deliver on a commitment to increase the doses to New York state.
Last week, the governors of Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota sent a letter to Mr. Azar urging him to grant permission for states to directly purchase doses of the vaccine. Mr. Cuomo’s request marks a rare attempt to bypass the federal government and get a state its own supply of vaccine.
The governor said the state received 250,000 doses this week—50,000 fewer than last week—even after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expanded the population eligible to get a dose, to people age 65 and up.
With about seven million New Yorkers now eligible, Mr. Cuomo said it would take as long as seven months to vaccinate them all at the current supply. The state has recorded more than 33,000 Covid-19 deaths, the highest in the nation.