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Society

De Blasio: Dangerous Not to Vaccinate Older Adults Quickly

NEW YORK — Mayor Bill de Blasio criticized the state government Friday for keeping New York City from immediately vaccinating people older than 75 against the coronavirus, saying the city had 270,000 doses that could be quickly administered.

"The state of New York will not allow us to vaccinate them. This is really dangerous if we can't vaccinate the people who are most in danger. We're going to lose lives we did not need to lose. Let's change that now," de Blasio said at his regular briefing.

The sharp language from the mayor comes amid a public disagreement between his administration and that of Gov. Andrew Cuomo over who gets priority for the vaccine. 

Cuomo has insisted on focusing on the state's front-line health care workers as cases and hospitalizations surge this winter. Fellow Democrat de Blasio has argued for widening distribution now to include the elderly, first responders and essential workers.

There are 560,000 New Yorkers over 75 who need help, the mayor said.

"The state of New York needs to help them right now," de Blasio said.

There was no immediate comment from the Cuomo administration on the mayor's latest comments. A spokesperson for the governor urged the city Thursday to "get needles in the arms of the health care workers," saying the city has 917,000 vaccine-eligible health care workers but had only administered 144,000 vaccines. 

De Blasio also criticized the federal government for what he called the slow pace of getting people in nursing homes vaccinated. While there are about 100,000 people living or working in nursing homes, only 16,000 in that priority group have been vaccinated, he said. 

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