“Cuomo presented area hospitals with a double bind: Fail to use all of your vaccines and be fined up to $100,000, or vaccinate people out of order and be fined $1,000,000. Inoculating health care workers first may sound sensible on the surface, but that evaporates when you consider that logistical externalities often prevent providers from corralling such employees in perfect time. (The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines can last for several months while frozen, but after thawing they have a very short shelf-life.) If those hospitals strayed and found an alternative candidate outside the mandated plan, they would have met financial ruin.
That threat is not an empty one: At least one hospital is under investigation for daring to vaccinate school officials before their time came.
Cuomo has claimed that such rules are necessary to prevent shady providers from constructing vaccine bribery schemes and pushing their friends to the front of the line. That concern may not be utterly groundless, but there is no evidence of widespread inoculation fraud. Compromising the health of New Yorkers seems an inept response to a negligible risk. The benefit of keeping the state’s senior citizens alive surely trumps such a worry.
New York’s graduation to tier 1b is a step in the right direction—now 3.2 million more people can receive the vaccine without health care providers worrying about their careers ending. But the state is still excluding large swaths of senior citizens in favor of “critical infrastructure workers,” such as grocery attendants. Those workers are providing a vital service, but many are also young and healthy, with much less risk of dying should they contract COVID-19.”
“people have been known to ghost their vaccine appointments even as doses are nearing expiration, something that no health practitioner can foresee. As I wrote last week, the D.C. Department of Health permits providers to pull aside any willing recipient if they have surplus vaccines that would otherwise go to waste. New York’s regulations on who may benefit from those extra doses will likely still cause some to end up in the trash.”