New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks out on Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) on November 15, 2020 at Riverside Church in Manhattan, New York City, United States.

Andrew Kelly | Reuters

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo asked Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla Monday about the option of purchasing Covid-19 vaccine doses direct from the company. However, a statement from the company said the Department of Health and Human Services must first approve such a model.

The request comes after an alarmingly slow start to national vaccine rollout, with the country falling millions of injections short of original Trump administration projections. By January 15, the US had distributed more than 31 million doses and administered just over 12 million. Health officials had hoped to inject 20 million Americans by the end of 2020.

Cuomo, a Democrat, accused the Trump administration of not sending enough doses of vaccine to his state. This week, he said, New York would receive 250,000 doses – 50,000 fewer than the week before.

In his letter to Bourla, Cuomo suggested that Pfizer should be able to sell directly to his state, bypassing federal agencies, as Pfizer “is not bound by any commitments Moderna made under Operation Warp Speed” .

“The company’s decision to end Operation Warp Speed, which is being redesigned by the Biden Administration, puts it in a unique position that could help save lives here in New York,” Cuomo wrote.

Pfizer said the model would first need to be approved for emergency drug use under the Food and Drug Administration’s approval.

The company said in a statement it was “open to working with HHS on a distribution model that would get as many Americans as possible access to our vaccine as quickly as possible. However, before we could sell directly to state governments, HHS would need to approve it . ” this proposal is based on the EEA granted to Pfizer by the FDA. “

Representatives from HHS did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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