The news that Pfizer, Inc. has made significant headway on a potential vaccine for COVID-19 has led New York officials to call for it to be distributed as widely as possible.
Governor Andrew Cuomo in recent weeks has raised concerns with the Trump administration's plan to distribute the vaccine through commercial pharmacies, arguing the move would hurt urban centers that do not have a CVS or a Walgreens nearby.
Pfizer has pledged to make the vaccine free to all Americans. Senator Mike Gianaris, a Queens Democrat, wrote in a letter to the company's leadership on Monday that officials would seek to keep Pfizer at its word.
“COVID-19 does not discriminate, and neither should we as access to a vaccine grows closer,” he said. “Some of our hardest hit areas were Black and brown communities and justice demands any vaccines are available to them. I urge Pfizer to remember all our neighbors and ensure their vaccinations are delivered at no cost to all who need them.”
The Pfizer vaccine is said to have 90% effectiveness in late stage trials. But distribution will be a logistical challenge, likely requiring people to receive two shots over a period of weeks.