Gov. Andrew Cuomo in a radio interview on Tuesday said he was not so much concerned with people skeptical the COVID-19 vaccine would be safe, but whether they would have access to it.
Cuomo, speaking with Hot-97 in New York City on Tuesday morning, said people will want the coronavirus vaccine, but he's concerned with ensuring there will be a "social equity" for all to access it.
"People are going to want the vaccine. The question is going to be who gets it first and it's going to be like the COVID test. Oh, the rich people get it first; the connected people get it first," Cuomo said. "And that's why I'm fighting for a mechanism that brings social equity, where the public housing projects get it first and the low-income communities get it first."
Both Pfizer, Inc. and Moderna have announced vaccines that show in late-stage trials a 90% or better success rate. Cuomo has criticized the federal government's plan to distribute vaccines through private-sector pharmacies, saying it could exclude urban communities.
Cuomo pointed to the disproportionate death toll for communities of color during the height of the pandemic. Black people were likely to die at twice the average rate and be infected at twice at the average rate as well.
Still, a fight with "anti-vaxxers" remains a concern in the near future, Cuomo said.
"That's why they should get the vaccine first. I think it's going to be a fight for the vaccine, initially, whether or not it's mandatory that's going to be down the road and that's going to be controversial," Cuomo said. "There's a lot of people- what they called the 'anti-vaxxers' -- because they oppose vaccines because they think they bring ancillary harm."